Free Agents the San Francisco Giants Might Pursue

Someone also recently asked me who I thought the San Francisco Giants might pursue from this year’s free agents.  The obviously most likely possibility is starting pitchers.

mlbtraderumors.com predicted that the Giants will sign Jeff Samardzija and Mike Leake, each for five years and $80M.  Those predictions make a lot of sense to me.  The Giants have long been reported to be hopeful of re-signing Mike Leake, and Samardzija seems like an excellent candidate for the Giants to pursue.

I don’t see the Giants ponying up enough money to win the sweepstakes for either David Price or Zack Greinke, and it seems fairly obvious the Giants would be better served getting two capable starters for the price it would take to sign either Price or Greinke alone.

What with this being a very deep free agent class, there may be some relative bargains to be had.  Samardija in particular looks like a good bet, because he’s coming off a bad season in terms of his usual performance standards.

The only thing I don’t like about signing Samardzija is that he will cost the Giants the No. 19 pick in the 2016 Draft.  Most of the other starters available will also cost this draft pick, and the few who won’t can reasonably be expected to have their forthcoming free agent contracts reflect this extra value, which may well amount to as much as another $20M to $25M.

What the Giants typically do is identify the players they want to target and go after them hard as soon as the free agent season opens in order to get players signed before the market really explodes.  My guess is that Price and Greinke will get very large contracts indeed, and this will raise the prices for all the other free agent starters down the line, because while there is a deep starting pitcher pool this year, every team could use at least one more starter, and there are fewer proven free agent starters than there are MLB teams.

mlbtraderumors.com links the Giants to just about every one of the free agent starters in its top 50 free agents list, so there are a lot of possibilities as to whom the Giants end up signing.  If they do spend big to sign two free agent starters, I doubt they’ll spend much anywhere else.

Assuming the Giants sign two free agent starters, and do not re-sign either Ryan Vogelsong or Tim Lincecum, the Giants will go into Spring Training with five starters, plus Matt Cain and Yusmeiro Petit, and the team’s closest starting pitcher prospect Clayton Blackburn starting the year back at AAA Sacramento.  That sounds pretty reasonable.

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