Where Giants stand with Pederson, Rodón after Flores extension originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- It's somewhat rare for veterans to pass up the open market when they're having a good season, but two summers in a row, the Giants have found the sweet spot for a potential free agent.
Last year, it was an easy call for both sides when the Giants offered Brandon Crawford a two-year extension that will keep him in orange and black his whole career. The negotiations were quick and painless. About a year later, the Giants started talks with Wilmer Flores that went on for about a month before the utility infielder signed his own two-year deal on Monday.
Like Crawford, Flores was happy to lock in stability before the madness of free agency, and he might not be the last Giant to do so.
The slight surprise Monday was not that the Giants brought Flores back, but that he signed before Joc Pederson, who is in a similar position and also is a player that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi would like back. Zaidi had previously said that he would talk to Pederson about an extension, and after the Flores deal was announced Monday, Zaidi said "it's possible" something gets done with Pederson over the next three weeks.
"We've expressed interest and there's still some time until the end of the season and free agency hits, so we'll just continue to see if there's a match out there," Zaidi said.
If Pederson does not sign, he will hit the market for a third straight year, but he won't be the most notable Giants free agent. Carlos Rodón was always going to seek out a big deal and he has put himself near the very top of a crowded pitching market with an incredible run in recent weeks.
Asked about Rodón, Zaidi pointed out that the ball is first in the left-hander's court. Barring an injury, Rodón will opt out of his two-year contract after the season ends.
"I know he's mentioned he's been happy here and would have interest in coming back. That's always a big part of the equation, whether players have an interest in coming back, and he does," Zaidi said. "We'll just have to see whether there's interest in engaging. He's obviously got a contract structure where he has a decision to make, so that complicates the sequencing of the discussions, but he's certainly a guy that we'd love to see back. He's done a great job for us."
While a short-term deal with Pederson would not be a shock, Rodón signing before hitting the market would be just about unprecedented. Starting pitchers of his caliber are the subject of bidding wars, and Rodón currently leads National League pitchers in fWAR and FIP while ranking second in strikeouts. He is getting stronger as the season goes, putting aside any lingering injury concerns from last offseason.
The market for Rodón will be strong and already is set to a degree. Last offseason, in a more uncertain financial environment, Robbie Ray signed a five-year, $115 million contract and Kevin Gausman signed for $110 million over five years. That's not the type of deal that gets signed in September, so it'll take a couple of months before it's known if the Giants are seriously in the bidding a year after they let Gausman depart.