Final Grade: B+
The Giants certainly did what they could to improve the rotation this offseason, but one can not help but wonder if they could have allocated the $220 million dollars they committed to Cueto and Samardzija to a player that ended up back in their division, albeit on a new team – Zack Greinke. The total of $210 over six years would’ve been a lot of money for one player, but it would’ve been less than what they totaled for the two “second-tier” starters they signed instead.
With the oft-injured Matt Cain and aging Jake Peavy still clogging up roster spots, the Giants are going to have to put one of three players in the bullpen — Cain, Peavy, or Chris Heston. Cain was by far the worst of the three in 2015, but he’ll be making $21 million a year for the next two years with an identical team option for 2018. It’s tough to put a $21 million dollar man in the bullpen, but that would make the most sense for the Giants rotation. However, that would’ve opened a hole after 2016, when Peavy becomes a free agent.
Having Bumgarner and Greinke at the top of the rotation (and Greinke not pitching against them) it would’ve been hard to bet against the Giants for the next few years. Should Cueto and Samardzija fail to recapture the form they showed before joining their most recent teams, more and more fans may begin to ask this same question. At the end of the day though, it’s reasonable to expect that both of these guys should rebound somewhat and shore up the San Francisco rotation for years to come.
On the offensive side, the addition of Span was a good move, as it forces poor center fielder Angel Pagan back to a more natural position in left field and gives the Giants a true leadoff hitter for the time being. However, every Giants starting outfielder is now over age 30, and Hunter Pence‘s injury problems are starting to catch up to him. Gregor Blanco is a good fourth outfielder, but he’s also 32 years old. Long story short, the Giants outfield is aging, and they didn’t do anything to change that this offseason with multiple options to do so (Dexter Fowler, Gerardo Parra, Austin Jackson, even Justin Upton).
The long and short of it is, the Giants did well but they could have done better. As with all free agent deals, we’ll have to wait and see how the season (and the next, and the next…) play out before the look back and deem the deals “good” or “bad”. While it’s easy to be satisfied with the Giants offseason, there’s still a shred of doubt as to what could have been done better.