Giants takeaways from the 2021 season


SAN FRANCISCO – When he’s not watching Squid Game on Netflix, Giants president of baseball Farhan Zaidi has tuned in to watch the Dodgers battle the Braves in the National League Championship Series, despite admitting that it has been such a strange viewing experience for him so far.

“It feels like I’m imagining how an actor feels when he’s beaten for a role, then goes to the movies and sees someone else on screen,” said Zaidi. “That’s what it feels like to us. You watch the game and you feel like, ‘That should have been us.’ “

In Zaidi’s preferred script, the Giants would have been the focus for the remainder of October, but they are no longer in the limelight after falling 2-1 against the Dodgers in crucial Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Thursday.

Even so, Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler don’t spend too much time lingering at the heartbreaking end of their magical 107-winning season. They are already looking to 2022 when they will try to maintain their success and assert themselves as a long-running hit in the NL West.

“There has been such a feeling of rebirth this season,” said Zaidi. “Back in terms of the city, in terms of organization, in terms of the fans. That was a really cool feeling. I don’t think I ever appreciated the opportunity to get to the ballpark, see a game, see fans in the stands, see fans get as excited as we did this year. I hope that carries over to next year. “

Here are five lessons learned from Zaidi’s and Kapler’s end-of-season press conference at Oracle Park on Monday:

1. The Giants want Buster Posey back next year, but the ball is his
One of the first big decisions the Giants will have to make will be whether to claim Posey’s $ 22 million club option for 2022, which must be exercised within five days of the last World Series game. Zaidi sounded open to it, though it’s possible the two sides could revise the deal and add an extra year or two, much like the $ 32 million two-year extension awarded to shortstop Brandon Crawford earlier this year.

“I thought he was the best baseball catcher this year,” Zaidi said of Posey. “Of course we want to have discussions with Buster and continue to have internal discussions about it, but having him on this team next year is a high priority.”

There is some uncertainty about Posey’s desire to keep playing, however, as he has repeatedly said he plans to sit down with his wife Kristen after the season to discuss his future.

“I will definitely take some time with my wife, talk to her and be a full-time father of four for the first time in a while,” Posey said on Thursday. “I’ll take it slow and see how things work out.”

While Posey remains a bit of an unknown, the Giants are in good shape with their depth of catch as the club’s number 2 Joey Bart is close to the Big League after spending most of the 2021 season at Triple. A Sacramento and backup Curt Casali has one more year of team control.

2. There is also an interest in keeping Brandon Belt
Belt, another veteran of the club, will be eligible for the free agency for the first time this off-season, but Zaidi said the Giants are interested in keeping him with them too. Zaidi hinted that San Francisco is considering extending a one-year, $ 18.4 million qualifying offer to Belt, who beat 29 home runs at his career high before sustaining a broken left thumb on September 26 at the end of the season.

The Giants have some internal options that could help cover first base if Belt signed elsewhere, including Darin Ruf, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Wilmer Flores, but it would be hard to replace Belt’s mid-order production and defense with gold glove caliber.

“You could talk about his worth, both in how he downplayed the track and how much we missed him when he went down,” said Zaidi. “He is happy here. I think he really feels valued and we value him. He’s been one of the best hitters in baseball in recent years. He is a big part of this team and of course we hope that these are productive dialogues. “

3. Restoring the start rotation will be the ‘No. 1 priority ‘
The Giants’ craziest holes are in rotation as budding ace Logan Webb is the only starter currently under team control for next year. Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood will be eligible for free representation, and Johnny Cueto is expected to join them as the Giants are likely to pay him a $ 5 million buyout instead of his $ 22 million Take advantage of the club option for 2022.

Zaidi said he plans to continue to have talks with all of them, but he could also pursue supplements through trade and other avenues.

“We have a number of free agents on the rotation and we’re interested in keeping all of these guys, but this is probably the most difficult segment of the free agent market to predict or pinpoint because every team has a need has and it’s a need that every team tries to tackle quite aggressively, ”said Zaidi. “It’s obvious where our roster will be on paper, but that will be priority # 1 for us.”

4. What about Kris Bryant?
29-year-old Bryant seemed a perfect fit for the Giants when they bought him for the Trade Deadline, but it remains to be seen if the four-time All-Star and 2016 NL MVP will be more than just a rental. The Giants appreciate Bryant’s versatility and star-level production, but they may not have a huge appetite for a bidding war, especially as they may be more comfortable using their resources to keep some of their other outstanding free agents this off-season.

“For us, the move to the deadline was really about getting chips into this team,” said Zaidi. “But we know he’s a superstar talent and it’s going to be a really competitive market for his services. I’m sure we’ll have interviews there, but he’ll have a long line of applicants, so we’ll just have to see how it goes. “

5. Change of coaching staff
The Giants will have at least one spot on their coaching staff following the resignation of Third Base coach Ron Wotus, despite Kapler’s suggestion that the position be filled internally. However, there is a chance that some of the club’s highly regarded employees will be poached by other teams this winter, especially given the success the Giants have had that year.

“The teams always call and ask for really high quality coaches,” said Kapler. “It’s been like this since I got the game. We would expect that to happen to us too. “


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