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Panik among Giants' arbitration-eligible players

Club is facing 5 decisions as non-tender deadline approaches
November 28, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- New Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will receive a chance to shape a significant portion of the roster and payroll on Friday.That's when the deadline for tendering 2019 contracts to arbitration-eligible players strikes at 5 p.m. PT.Zaidi faces decisions on five Giants players who have

SAN FRANCISCO -- New Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will receive a chance to shape a significant portion of the roster and payroll on Friday.
That's when the deadline for tendering 2019 contracts to arbitration-eligible players strikes at 5 p.m. PT.
Zaidi faces decisions on five Giants players who have occupied prominent roles: second baseman Joe Panik (2018 salary: $3.45 million), outfielder Gorkys Hernandez ($561,500), left-hander Will Smith ($2.5 million) and right-handers Sam Dyson ($4.425 million) and Hunter Strickland ($1.55 million).
The arbitration process virtually guarantees players a sizable pay raise for the upcoming season. Players offered arbitration are considered signed, though the exchange of one-year salary proposals will not occur until January.
A player who isn't tendered a contract -- typically because club management doesn't consider him worth his projected salary -- is cast into free agency. A significant number of arbitration-eligible players simply avoid fuss and reach a compromise with the club.
Panik, 28, endured thumb and groin injuries while batting .254 -- 38 points below his career average entering the season. His .639 OPS was a career low.

Hernandez, 31, amassed 15 home runs last season after hitting zero in 348 plate appearances in 2017. He also hit .162 after the 2018 All-Star break compared to .277 before it.
Smith, 29, overcame Tommy John surgery to strike out 71 batters in 53 innings. He won the "Willie Mac" Award, emblematic of the team's most inspirational player. But Smith's 6.75 September ERA contrasted with the 1.80 mark he posted before that.
Dyson, 30, appeared in a team-high 74 games. Oddly, he recorded a 3.66 ERA in 41 outings at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, compared to 1.45 in 33 road appearances.
Strickland, 30, tied Smith for the team lead with 14 saves, but he broke his pitching hand when he punched a door after a blown save. Strickland's ERA was 2.84 before that incident and 6.59 afterward.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.