With the hire of Farhan Zaidi as President of Baseball Operations, the Giants may be finally heading towards a rebuild. It’ll be interesting what Zaidi does in order to shed some of the awful contracts this team possesses.
Current State: Rebuilding (Finally!)
Giants Hire Farhan Zaidi as Pres. of Baseball Ops
The Giants have hired Farhan Zaidi to be their President of Baseball Operations. Zaire, 42, served as the rival Dodgers general manager since 2014. Before that, he was the assistant general manager for the A’s, starting in 2011. Zaidi has been labeled as one of baseball’s brighter young minds, who is analytically driven yet has a history with scouting. He is a superstar executive, and he’s the type of candidate that the Giants were dreaming of hiring. As soon as he became available, this became an easy decision. Zaire helped the Dodgers get out of salary cap troubles when he took over, making creative trades to free salary. He’ll have to do the same for the Giants, who are spending a large amount of money on underperforming veterans. If there’s anything who can do so and “save” the Giants, who seem heading towards a gloom future, it’s Zaidi. Zaidi will likely cut salary and boost San Francisco’s farm system, two things the previous regime refused to do. This new direction for the Giants is the right one, and they picked the perfect person in Zaidi. This is a great start for San Francisco, they are no longer the World Series contender they were earlier this decade.
Giants Sign SP Derek Holland
The Giants have brought starting pitcher Derek Holland back on a one year deal worth $7 million contract with a team option for 2020 worth $8 million. Holland, 32, bounced back with San Francisco this season. After posting a 6.20 ERA with the White Sox in 2017, he had a 3.57 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP and a 3.87 FIP. His FIP- of 101 and his xFIP- of 100 rated him exactly as a league average pitcher, and it’s concerning that his hard contact allowed rate actually jumped to 38.8%. However, he can get away with that as long as he’s playing at pitchers friendly Oracle Park, especially considering he gives up his fair share of home runs. The Giants aren’t going to contend next season, and they’re looking for innings eaters to take the load off of their young pitchers and for an overachiever to succeed in that ballpark. Holland, who led San Francisco with 171.1 innings will certainly accomplish the former, while it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Giants were able to trade him mid-season if he has a strong first half. $7 million is a little more than I would’ve paid for Holland, but it’s fine for a one year deal.
Giants Sign SP Drew Pomeranz
Sticking with the theme, the Giants have signed starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz to a one year, $1.5 million contract with $3.5 million in incentives. Pomeranz, 30, has had a roller coaster career so far. The 2016 All Star is now on his fifth team, and failed to meet expectations with the Red Sox after being traded there in exchange for top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza. This season, the left hander posted an atrocious ERA of 6.08 with a 1.77 WHIP and a 5.43 FIP. That’s a major fall off from the season before with Boston, where he had a 3.32 ERA. Pomeranz struggled with his command this season (5.4 BB/9), served up the long ball (1.5 HR/9), and also saw his strikeout rate go down (8 K/9). He didn’t allow much more hard contact than usual,, but his ground ball rate sunk to 37.1%. His top two pitches were also ineffective this season, as his fastball posted a -2.9 runs above average, while his curveball had a -13.2 runs above average, both unusually low. Pitching at one of the most pitcher friendly parks in San Francisco, Pomeranz has found the perfect fit if his ground ball rate continues to fall. In a bigger ballpark and away from the AL East, I also expect for him to regain some confidence, which could lead to a lower walk rate. Since three straight seasons with an ERA of 3.66 or lower came before, the 2018 season may have been a fluke. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he bounced back with the Giants, similar to Holland, and was able to be flipped at the trade deadline. Either way, San Francisco continues to add much needed pitching depth at a low cost.
*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Giants Make
Stats Courtesy of Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, and Baseball Savant