The San Francisco Giants Executed Their Offseason Plan Perfectly

Few teams have gone out and added to the extent the San Francisco Giants have. Will this improved club have what it takes to win the NL West?

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 19: Justin Han and Jung Hoo Lee (51) of the San Francisco Giants talk during the workout at Scottsdale Stadium on February 19, 2024 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/San Francisco Giants/Getty Images)

Entering the 2023-2024 offseason, there were few teams with more on their wish list than the San Francisco Giants. Things went, well, terribly for the club last year, and there has been a renewed sense of urgency to get things turned around quickly.

Elsewhere in the NL West, the Dodgers added nearly every significant trade piece and free agent of note this winter. The Diamondbacks and Padres also both did effective jobs of adding pieces.

This left the Giants as the team with the most to do. After finishing 79-83 last year, there was a lot of work to be done. To their credit, the organization has done an exceptional job at crossing items off their list.

On Monday night, the Giants made their latest addition, signing Blake Snell to a two-year contract. He was the best available arm on the market and is the third rotation upgrade the Giants made this offseason.

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One of the top needs for the Giants was starting pitching, as their starters combined to throw the least amount of innings in the majors last season. Their starters were also 23rd in strikeouts, which Snell will certainly help, too.

Snell is going to form one of the more lethal one-two combos atop any starting rotations in the game. Paired with Logan Webb, the man who finished second to Snell in the Cy Young race last year, this tandem is going to be lethal.

Few Teams Added More Than the Giants This Winter

The additions did not only come to the Giants pitching staff, though. On offense, a total of five positions players were brought aboard that should make the Opening Day roster.

We’re talking about an offensive unit that finished 19th in home runs, 24th in runs scored, 26th in OPS, 28th in batting average and had the sixth-highest strikeout rate in the game. There was certainly room for improvement.

Tom Murphy and Nick Ahmed were two of the lower-profile signings of the offseason. The former is set to be an oft-used backup catcher while the latter is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. Murphy signed a big league deal but Ahmed, on a minor league contract, is also expected to make the Opening Day roster.

The big additions are Jung Hoo Lee, Jorge Soler and Matt Chapman.

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Lee, 25, comes over from the KBO with a .340 career batting average. He is an on-base machine who will man center field and hit leadoff for the Giants this year. His six-year, $113M contract has the potential of being one of the bigger steals of the offseason.

Soler is a lock to boost the Giants’ home run totals this year. The slugger hit 36 of them in 2023 and had an impressive 128 OPS+ in 137 games for the Marlins. We’re talking about the same player that hit 48 bombs a few years back, so his addition will be a welcome one.

Then there’s Chapman, another one of the game’s top defensive infielders. He is coming off a decent-but-not-great offensive season with the Blue Jays, but he was worth 1.6 dWAR and will pair with Ahmed to form one of the best defensive left sides of the infield in recent memory.

The Giants’ Pitching Staff is Much Improved

With such an injury-riddled pitching staff – especially in the rotation – the Giants desperately needed to continue to add.

Snell, 31, is fresh off of his second Cy Young Award and led the majors in both ERA and ERA+ last season. Walks are always going to be an issue for him, but he remains one of the best starting pitchers in the game and is a significant upgrade.

Jordan Hicks is the wild card here, because he’s a career long reliever that wants to try his hand at starting games. The right-hander made a handful of starts for the Cardinals a few years back and has long preferred a spot in the rotation, but no teams have been willing to give that to him outside of the Giants.

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Hicks, 27, is a flamethrower who can easily fall back on a lights out relief role if starting doesn’t work out in 2024. Last year, he posted a 3.29 ERA with over 11 strikeouts per nine innings across 65 outings.

Robbie Ray, who won’t be available until sometime around the All-Star Break, was acquired in a huge trade with the Mariners in January. The 31-year-old is a former Cy Young winner himself, but hasn’t been healthy since 2022. Ray is another wild card, but he’ll be a big addition for the Giants once he returns from the injured list.

Snell, like Chapman, is a client of Scott Boras that was forced to settle for a much smaller contract than what the industry initially expected. However, both players have opt-out clauses in the near future, so they can re-test the free agent waters in short order.

Closing Thoughts

The San Francisco Giants had clear needs to address entering this past offseason. Now, they’ve got a new center fielder and leadoff hitter, 30-homer pop from their DH spot, two of the best defensive infielders in the game and a completely overhauled starting rotation.

While competing with the likes of the Dodgers is always going to be a tall task, the Giants have clearly (finally) pushed the pedal to the floor and are sure to rebound from a down year in 2023.

As previously stated, though, multiple free agent additions are on short-term deals. Snell could opt-out after this year, and Chapman after next. Ray is a free agent after next year, while Hicks and Soler will hit free agency after the 2026 season.

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The window is open right now for the Giants. It’s time for them to prove last year was just a fluke and show that the long list of additions are going to serve a real purpose for them as soon as the upcoming campaign.