Giants Mailbag: What's 2021 plan for Buster Posey, Tyler Beede, others?

Alex Pavlovic
·10 min read

Giants Mailbag: What's 2021 plan for Posey, Beede, others? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

This is expected to be perhaps the slowest offseason in recent MLB history, but the Giants this week managed to fill a couple of holes. 

Kevin Gausman is back to lead the rotation, and with the addition of a left-handed-bat earlier in the week, the Giants might have sneakily taken care of a big need in the infield. 

It was a solid week of roster-building, but there's a lot of work left to do. With that in mind, let's run through another round of questions from readers (via Instagram), with an emphasis this time on the rotation that still needs help: 

How often should we expect to see Posey in the squat? -- snowcapninja

This answer will probably be different from the first half to the second half. Posey seems poised to start opening day and have his usual role early on, with Joey Bart likely headed to Triple-A for more development. But at some point the Giants will bring Bart back up and it'll be interesting to see how the time is split. Farhan Zaidi, Scott Harris and Gabe Kapler have had a long time to think about how they might be able to be creative. 

If I had to guess, I'd say Posey starts at least 100 games behind the plate. He's had a full year to rest his body, and because he won't be playing much first -- this staff prefers Wilmer Flores' bat as Brandon Belt's backup -- just about all of Posey's innings will come in the squat. 

How is Beede's rehab going? -- metalmaned

Tyler Beede has been documenting his recovery from Tommy John on his Instagram page, and in recent weeks he has really ramped up the throwing, both in terms of distance and intensity. Beede told me in September that he's been feeling great, and it seems he's poised to make it back on time, although that still won't have in the opening day mix. 

Johnny Cueto was the last Giants starter to have TJ and he missed 13 months, so Beede -- who had surgery in late March -- is realistically probably looking at May as an early target. Getting him back in the rotation is pretty important. As the young position players start to arrive, the Giants need to figure out what they have in Beede and Logan Webb. 

Your thoughts on the starting rotation? -- jessehesch

I hit on this yesterday after Kevin Gausman returned, with the main takeaway being that the Giants need at least two more reliable arms. Right now they have the same group as in 2020 -- minus Drew Smyly and Trevor Cahill -- and that rotation was running out of steam as the 60-game mark approached. Bringing Smyly back would be a good start, but the front office needs another veteran in the mix, preferably someone with a lot of upside. This current group mainly has guys who pitched like No. 5 starters in 2020. 

I would wait it out and see who is out there in January -- a Corey Kluber, Chris Archer, Jose Quintana etc. -- looking for a soft landing spot. I suspect that's exactly what Zaidi and Harris will do. 

Do the Giants stand a chance in a division with both the Dodgers and Padres? -- yejithewedgie

If you're being realistic about 2021, no. 

There's a chance, depending on the health of the Padres, that the two most talented teams in the Majors will be in the NL West next season. That's the bad news. Over 162 games, it's simply not realistic for this Giants roster to compete yet, and I think that's actually not a bad thing. The Giants are building the right way, and they won't be tempted to accelerate that with iffy trades by playing in a bad division. 

By 2022 I think the Giants will be able to start talking about competing for the division again, but if you're being honest about 2021, the best hope for the Giants is that MLB expands the postseason again. 

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Is it possible that we are eyeing Lindor like how the Dodgers did with Mookie Betts? sfgiants.today

The Francisco Lindor question is a much larger one, and one that I will flesh out at some point in a space other than a mailbag. There has been no connection thus far, and I haven't found anyone who feels that the Giants are lurking, although I'll always point out that they were out of the Bryce Harper chase until February of that offseason, so you know Zaidi is keeping an eye on this situation to some extent. 

There are a lot of reasons why Lindor is much different than what the Dodgers did with Betts. First of all, the Dodgers viewed Betts -- even if he would end up being a one-year rental -- as the final piece of their championship puzzle, and the Giants even with Lindor would still be picked third in their division. 

Then there's the fact that shortstop isn't a glaring need. The Giants are just fine with Brandon Crawford there, and Marco Luciano -- their best prospect in a decade -- could be ready by 2022, with team officials believing strongly that he can stay at short. 

In a perfect world, Luciano will turn into Lindor. So why not get them both and move Luciano to third or center field? It's not a bad plan, but I wouldn't trade away prospects from a rebuilding team to go down that path now. If that's what the Giants want to do long-term, they can wait until Lindor hits free agency in a year. 

Do you think the Giants will move Crawford at some point before he becomes a free agent? -- jacksonirwin_

As always, it's important to remember this offseason that this is a two-way street. Crawford has a full no-trade clause, and I can't see any reason why he would want to accept a trade at this point of his career. 

Beyond that, he's owed $15 million in 2021, a very hard number to move in this environment. Plus, he's coming off a good year and the Giants were a mess defensively when they turned to backups. He'll be back. 

Can you see the Giants absorbing another teams bad contract to gain prospects? camstrong53

This is, in my opinion, easily one of the best plans for them this offseason. 

The Giants did this last year, taking on Zack Cozart's money to get Will Wilson, who had a really strong summer at Oracle Park and in Sacramento. In a world where nobody was willing to pay Brad Hand $10 million, the Giants should -- and I'm sure are -- be calling every small- and mid-market club and asking if they need financial breathing room. 

Would the Rangers, for instance, be willing to attach a prospect to the $7 million they owe Jordan Lyles? Do the Brewers need to dump Avisail Garcia's $12.5 million? For a team on more solid financial footing, there are plenty of opportunities. 

What happened to Menez?

He got married! 

Congrats to all of the Giants -- Tyler Rogers is getting married this weekend and Mauricio Dubon is next  -- who are still making it official in 2020 despite all that's gone on. 

As for the pitching side, I'm really not sure, to be honest. Menez threw well in seven relief appearances early on, but he never returned after getting optioned. I asked about him late in the year and didn't really get a straight answer. He was said to be doing fine at the alternate site, but apparently the staff felt others were throwing better. 

Who will be the biggest signing? -- james_looram

Kevin Gausman?

I wouldn't be surprised if that ultimately ends up being the case. The Giants have talked of adding complementary pieces to their lineup and upside arms to their rotation. If they make a splash, the trade market is probably more likely. 

Are the Giants looking to move any of their older vets that are on expiring contracts? -- tdlopez22

Again I'll go back to Hand, a really good closer who would cost just $10 million for one year but went unclaimed on waivers. In that environment, I don't see how anyone even takes a phone call discussing a Johnny Cueto ($21 million) or Brandon Belt ($16 million). 

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In the search for pitching, what options do you see from the farm? I'm liking Hjelle and Pat Ruotolo. -- willhahn92

Those are good names, although both have limited experience. I'll give you one not many people talk about. 

The Giants got Tristan Beck in the Mark Melancon deal and he threw well the rest of that season in San Jose and then pitched in the Fall League. Beck hasn't pitched in Double-A yet, but he's 24 already and came into the minors with some polish after pitching at Stanford. He's a guy I would throw right there with Hjelle in terms of possible 2021 debuts. 

How much do the Giants script their games like the Rays do with Kevin Cash? tlorenzana13

Look, what Cash did with Blake Snell was idiotic and something he'll never live down, but we all need to keep perspective about "scripting games." It's a good thing (it's pretty well established that most starters shouldn't face a hitter a third time)! And it's not new! 

It might seem new when Kapler and his coaches are hopping on Zoom calls and running through simulated versions of matchups they might see eight months from now, but it's not all that different from Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean sitting back in leather chairs with a couple of drinks and trying to figure out how best to deploy Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt. 

Bochy would meticulously plan out postseason games, but the difference between him and Cash is that in the tightest spots he understood that you need to trust your eyes, too. He never intended for Bumgarner to go five innings out of the bullpen, but as it was happening, he realized the script needed to be thrown out. 

As for Kapler, he is more prepared than anyone, so much so that he bought a PlayStation during the hiatus to start preparing for future matchups. He goes into every game with a really good idea of how he wants to use all of his relievers, and while there were some high-profile blowups in the ninth inning, I thought the Giants did a nice job of finding the right matchups most nights, particularly in middle relief. 

What we don't know, and can't know until a postseason series, is whether Kapler will be willing to rip up the script if he has someone pulling a Snell.