Farhan Zaidi understands the current frustrations surrounding an underwhelming Giants roster and will look to address each and every one of them in the offseason.
Following their franchise-best 107-win season in 2021, the 2022 Giants (61-61) have taken a significant step backward, and fans understandably have been frustrated.
Zaidi joined The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on the latest episode of “The TK Show” podcast, where he discussed San Francisco’s plan for the offseason and how the organization will look to round out its roster moving forward.
“I think what we’ve seen this year and some of the frustrations, we definitely this offseason are looking to get a little younger, a little bit more athletic. I shouldn’t use the term ‘younger,’ especially at the risk of being accused of being ageist,” Zaidi joked. “I think it’s more … a healthier group.
“I think just having a healthier group that’s firing on all cylinders is going to be a priority for us. And that was definitely an area where we felt we had some exposure this year and it certainly hurt us and that’s part of why we’ve took a pretty significant step back in terms of our record.”
Looking ahead to the offseason, the Giants will certainly have money to spend. San Francisco has committed just $96.5 million to players on the roster next season, significantly lower than MLB’s $233 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold for the 2023 season. Of course, that’s not to say that the Giants have around $136 million to spend. Just like every professional sports team — even teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets — the Giants have financial limits … to an extent.
“It’s not sort of a hard number, but we are given ranges,” Zaidi explained. “We go through the finances of the operation and come up with a payroll number raise that makes sense and then at some point we’re kind of going case-by-case if we want to make late additions to it. It’s not sort of a blank-check, consequence-free environment as far as the payroll goes, but it’s also not ‘you can’t go over that no matter what’ … we have economic constraints like every business, but we have flexibility built in and we have an ownership group that has shown it’s willing to push chips in when a compelling case is made.”
One of the biggest frustrations for fans this season and in recent years has been the lack of superstar talent. San Francisco certainly has had good players, All-Star-caliber players even. But the Giants have not acquired a Juan Soto, Mookie Betts, or any of the game’s biggest stars like NL West rivals in recent years. Nor have they been developing any … yet.
“I think our big point is that there are (a few different ways) to get those players,” Zaidi added. “For the teams that won titles here in 2010, ’12 and ’14, it was really mostly homegrown talent. The Brandons and obviously Buster [Posey] oath [Madison] Bumgarner and [Tim] Lincecum and [Matt] Cain and others. We certainly hope to have that kind of talent pipeline. This notion of hey, you want a young fan of yours to be able to go to the team store and buy a jersey and know that they can go to the park wearing that jersey for the next several years and feel like that’s their guy. I think there’s a lot to that. Now, people aren’t going to come to watch a team that isn’t competitive, we have to balance all of that.”
Another area of concern has been the lineup’s stability and consistency, with the constant platoons at various positions leaving little to be excited about when things aren’t going as planned. Zaidi hears those frustrations and the Giants will look to build a lineup with at least a handful of everyday players, regardless of the matchups.
“I think it’s important for us to establish two or three or four or five guys, who are everyday guys who are going to be in the lineup,” Zaidi said. “And even though we managed the roster the same way we did last year, I think there’s been some frustration with the platoons and the pinch-hitting. That kind of roster management philosophy works best when you have a foundation of guys who are in there every day and then your last few roster spots you can mix and match and really be able to get the most out of players.”
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It’s clear that Zaidi and the Giants hear and understand the frustrations surrounding an underwhelming Giants team. They know that they need to get younger, more consistent, and add more star power while simultaneously building a competitive roster and not mortgaging the future for one or two players.
It certainly is a difficult balancing act, but if Zaidi and the Giants can learn from this season and accomplish what they set out to do in the offseason, San Francisco could continue competing for championships for years to come.
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