The Giants saw a number of players leave the team following the 2015 season, the biggest of which was trade-deadline loaner Mike Leake, who the Giants briefly considered re-signing before opting to pursue Samardzija and Cueto. Leake has had a decidedly average MLB career, accumulating a 3.88 ERA over 1,083.2 innings in six seasons. With the Giants in 2o15, Leake put up a 4.07 ERA (backed up by a poor 4.83 FIP) in 55.0 innings. Leake is still just 28 years old and likely projects to continue his serviceable-yet-unremarkable career trajectory over the course of his five-year, $80 million dollar deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
After Leake, the next important departure was bullpen-rotation swingman Ryan Vogelsong, who started his career with the Giants, went to Pittsburgh for an extended stint, then returned the San Francisco for the last five seasons, and ultimately ended up signing a one-year, $2 million dollar deal this offseason with the Pirates. Vogelsong has always been a favorite with the Giants fan base, but he’s now 38 years old and coming off a season with an ERA of 4.67 and a BB/9 of nearly 4.0. Surely he will be missed in the clubhouse and in the bleachers, but Vogelsong’s departure shouldn’t negatively affect the Giants outlook for 2016.
The Giants also lost relief pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, who somehow holds the MLB record for most consecutive batters retired, with an impressive stretch of 46 straight from July 22 to August 28, 2014. In 2015, Petit was a fairly solid reliever, pitching 76.0 innings to the tune of a 3.67 ERA and 4.09 FIP, while posting a modest 3.93 K/BB. However, Petit’s decline in H/9, HR/9, BB/9, and K/9 in 2015 was concerning enough for the Giants to let him walk to the Washington Nationals on a one-year deal for $2.5 million (with a $3 million dollar team option for 2017).
In the outfield, a trio of players were let go, with the club declining options on Nori Aoki and Marlon Byrd, and late-season waiver acquisition Alejandro De Aza opting to sign with the Mets. Aoki was unbelievably average in his time with San Francisco, matching his career marks exactly in batting average and on-base percentage at .287 and .353, respectively. However, a broken leg suffered towards the end of the season cut the Japanese outfielder’s season short, and the Giants decided to move in another direction.
Byrd was on loan from the Reds and performed okay in his 39 games with the Giants, but his $8 million dollar option was deemed to steep for the 38-year-old outfielder to be a desirable option for the Giants in 2016. De Aza was good down the stretch for the Giants, boasting a .262/.387/.361 slash line in 24 games, but his price tag and inconsistent history made him a better candidate elsewhere.
To round out the group of players leaving the Giants, veteran pitchers Tim Hudson and Jeremy Affeldt decided to hang up the cleats following the season’s conclusion. Neither player was very impactful in 2015, with Hudson posting a 4.44 ERA in 123.2 innings and Affeldt racking up a mark of 5.86 in 35.1 innings of work. Both players were popular in the clubhouse and with the fans, so their departures are somewhat bittersweet, but the product on the field will likely be better in 2016 without the two aging hurlers taking up innings. Additionally, backup catcher Hector Sanchez signed with Chicago, opening the door for Andrew Susac to become the full-time backup to Buster Posey.