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Why Giants' quiet offseason actually has been relatively active originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
There aren't many breaks in the schedule for MLB executives these days, but even the new generation of general manager who have learned to live on four hours of sleep can agree to put the cell phone down for a few hours over the holidays. While the San Diego Padres made a splash between Christmas and the end of the year, the rest of the sport pretty much shut it down. The problem this offseason is that the quiet stretch wasn't an isolated case.
With spring training just six weeks away (maybe), Trevor Bauer, the best pitcher on the market, seems nowhere close to signing. The same goes for J.T. Realmuto, George Springer, DJ LeMahieu and Marcell Ozuna. It's even been quiet for the next tier, guys like Liam Hendriks and Marcus Semien.
Only two of the consensus top 10 free agents have signed, and both were guys who simply accepted qualifying offers, which means the Giants are in an interesting spot. They have had a quiet offseason, one that has fans grumbling about having to wait another year for a splash. They also have been one of the busier organizations in the league.
Through two months, only one player -- catcher James McCann -- has signed a deal for more than the $18.9 million the Giants guaranteed Kevin Gausman. Only 11 players have signed deals that will pay them more than $5 million in 2021 and two are Giants: Gausman and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who will get $6 million on a one-year deal.
The action has been highly concentrated thus far, putting the Giants in with an eclectic and small group of teams spending, if you want to call it that. The New York Mets have signed three players to deals worth more than $5 million, the Kansas City Royals have signed two, and the Braves have signed two. The other 26 organizations have combined to sign two free agents to deals guaranteeing them more than $5 million next year, with the Toronto Blue Jays giving Robbie Ray $8 million and the Chicago White Sox signing Adam Eaton for $7 million.
The Gausman deal alone put the Giants near the top of the current list of spenders, but he wasn't alone. They've actually been relatively active in terms of adding guys on big league deals, with even Chadwick Tromp and Jason Vosler getting 40-man spots. Throw those players in with DeSclafani, Matt Wisler ($1.15 million) and John Brebbia ($800,000) and the Giants have signed six players to big league deals this offseason for about $28 million. That puts them behind the Mets (about $75 million) and Royals (about $40 million) and even with the Atlanta Braves, who are somewhere in the $28 million range as well after signing Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly to one-year deals.
None of those teams stand as the winner of the offseason thus far. The Padres hold that distinction after trading for Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, and since we're talking money, it must be noted that they took on nearly $100 million in future salary commitments in those blockbusters, which makes them the biggest spenders this offseason, too.
Both Darvish and Snell are signed through 2023, which makes them outliers in what has been an embarrassingly slow offseason for the sport. McCann is the only free agent who has signed a deal longer than two seasons. Only five players have signed multi-year big league deals through two months, and one of them -- the Los Angeles Dodgers' Tommy Kahnle -- will miss most of the upcoming season after having Tommy John surgery.
The dam figures to break in the next few weeks, if only because it has to. Spring training is around the corner, and while players have been disappointed by offers thus far, at some point they will bite the bullet and find a home for 2021. The Giants are reportedly one of the favorites for Tomoyuki Sugano, a right-hander who will get multiple years, but otherwise they are not thought to be in on the bigger names.
They have done what they always do, signing players with upside to one-year deals, but this offseason that makes them pretty active compared to others. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi recently said he expects more moves before spring training, but he noted that teams are dealing with uncertainty about the coronavirus and the possibility of fans being back in the seats in 2021.
"I think teams are moving at a certain pace and I also think there's uncertainty on the player side, as well, not knowing whether it makes sense to try to move now or wait a little longer and get a little bit more clarity on the baseball situation and the overall public health situation," Zaidi said.