Giants Eyeing Left-Handed Starters

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edited January 13 in Sport

12:59pm: The Giants have shown “preliminary” interest in Hamels, Morosi tweets. The 37-year-old was limited to just one start with the Braves last year due to shoulder troubles and is planning to host a showcase for interested parties, though said workout has yet to be scheduled.

8:20am: The Giants are still in the market for rotation help, and the organization’s preference would be to balance out its group of starters by adding a left-hander, general manager Scott Harris revealed to Jon Morosi on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM this week (Twitter link).

At present, the top three spots in San Francisco’s rotation all belong to right-handed starters: Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto and Anthony DeSclafani. Twenty-four-year-old Logan Webb is likely the favorite for the fourth spot despite some struggles through his first 94 MLB innings. That’s in part due to his strong minor league track record and recent standing as one of the organization’s top prospects, but also due to a lack of palatable options elsewhere on the 40-man roster. Righty Shaun Anderson has struggled both in the rotation and in the bullpen. Fellow right-hander Tyler Beede is expected back from Tommy John surgery in 2021 but will obviously come with some workload limitations.

The Giants do have one lefty option on the roster in the form of 25-year-old Conner Menez, and former Rays/D-backs top prospect Anthony Banda will be in camp on a non-roster invite as well. Handedness aside, the Giants could simply use more innings in the rotation at the moment. Even DeSclafani, who is guaranteed a spot after signing a $6MM contract for the upcoming season, pitched in only nine games (seven starts) last year. DeSclafani missed the entire 2017 season due to elbow troubles and has spent time on the IL in all but one season (2019) over the past five years.

The free-agent market isn’t short on experienced lefties for the Giants to consider. It’s possible they could reunite with Tyler Anderson, who pitched reasonably well for them in 2020 but was nonetheless non-tendered. They’ve also already been reported to have interest in veteran Jon Lester, whom Harris knows well from his time as director of baseball ops and assistant general manager with the Cubs. Other options with ties to the Giants’ front office include former Cub Jose Quintana and Alex Wood, the latter of whom was with the Dodgers during Zaidi’s time as general manager there.

Of course, such connections can be overblown, and the market has plenty of alternatives. James Paxton is perhaps the highest-upside option of the bunch if he’s healthy, while veterans like J.A. Happ or Martin Perez could provide some bulk innings. Cole Hamels and Rich Hill remain unsigned as well, and Carlos Rodon is still seeking a new home after an injury-ruined finish to his White Sox tenure.

The Giants should have ample payroll capacity to take on any option they prioritize, be it via free agency or trade. At present, the club projects to have a payroll just north of $142MM (via Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez) — a far cry from the $200MM mark carried as recently as 2018.

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