San Francisco Giants


Aside from some lukewarm rumors and light, innocent flirting with Bryce Harper, the San Francisco Giants were one of baseball’s quietest teams this off-season.
They hired a new president of baseball ops, Farhan Zaidi formerly of the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, but he had very limited payroll flexibility thanks to a bunch of aging, bloated contracts on the books – the team’s opening day payroll will be around $171 million. So they’ll be hoping for bounce-back seasons from veterans and the kind of lights-out season from Madison Bumgarner that could determine how quickly the team’s rebuild begins.
Team MVP: Madison Bumgarner

Bumgarner, in the final year before free agency at a potential bargain $12 million, will be the Giants’ MVP whether they are good or bad. Even if he doesn’t end up posting his best numbers, his value will be calculated elsewhere – on the trade market. The team as currently constructed has an outside shot of being relevant in the NL West, so it has to be rebuilt in order to contend in the future, and that means getting something for Bumgarner, who appears to be a No. 1 starter in decline, though still effective. A strong first-half performance means a better haul for the Giants, assuming they aren’t in contention come July.

Best-Value Pitcher: Drew Pomeranz
Drew Pomeranz, coming off a 6.08 ERA in 74 innings in 2018, doesn’t seem like a great candidate for this distinction, but he might surprise if he stays healthy.
In his last healthy season with the Boston Red Sox in 2017, he made 32 starts and had a 3.32 ERA and 137 ERA+. Especially in that division, that’s impressive. Given that the Giants are guaranteeing him just $1.5 million, he could be one of the bargains of the winter and a potential trade chip if the Giants don’t contend.
Best-Value Position Player: Steven Duggar
Steven Duggar got 152 plate appearances in his first major league stint last season, and with thin options in the outfield, he appears to be the only penciled-in regular.
It’s hard to call Duggar a prospect since he’s 24, but if he can hit a little – he had a 90 OPS+ in that short call-up last year – and play solid defense in center field, he could be a ray of hope for the Giants’ future. And he’ll come cheap as he’s under team control.
Best Addition: Mac Williamson
Pomeranz is the best candidate here, and he could run away with the honor if he shows even a bit of what he did in 2017. Beyond him, left fielder Mac Williamson falls into this category – sort of.
He’s played in 120 games for the Giants since 2015, but now he’s an opening day starter (most likely) with a retooled swing and flashes of major league power. He’s also healthy after a concussion last year sapped his production. If he can be above average offensively, that will be a win for the lineup.
The X-Factor: Buster Posey
With three years and $70.2 million remaining on his contract, catcher Buster Posey is coming off season-ending hip surgery and a down season in which he hit five homers in 448 plate appearances. While the power of his 20-homer seasons is gone, if Posey can stay healthy, get on base and knock in some runs, he could be a big reason the Giants sneak their way into contention.


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