The Giants never were going to rebuild this offseason. They had too many guys getting paid too much money to initiate a successful sell off. They weren't going to take the publicity hit of trading Madison Bumgarner coming off a 98-loss season. So they did what they always do... they traded and signed some veteran players that should make the team better in the short term.
The interesting part about this is that they actually got some name players. This in and of itself isn't that surprising. The Giants are somewhat of a marketing team first and a sports franchise second. The Giants have always had bankable stars: Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Will Clark, Barry Bonds, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner...
Now they've added Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen to that list. There's a catch though. McCutchen may only be here for one season (or half a season if the Giants don't get better fast). And Longoria, the face of the Rays for the entirety of his career, is here for five more years. That leaves him with the back 9 of his career left to go, which will now be played wearing a Giants jersey. It was an interesting way to go for the Giants. Third base was a pretty big hole once they traded away Eduardo Nunez. And signing Nunez back wouldn't have really improved the position. Sandoval is not the Kung Fu Panda anymore and Arroyo botched his first call-up by batting under .200 and then getting unlucky with bean balls. While some wanted Arroyo to get the job outright to see what he could do with 500 at bats, the Giants saw a position that could be upgraded. They decided not to pull a McCutchen by sending all of their farm system to the Orioles for Manny Machado. They decided to pass on consistent veteran free agent Todd Frazier who offers a lot of what Longoria does but without the name recognition and with an ugly batting average. No, they went with the "name" player. Longoria. A player casual fans would casually recognize.
Also, Bobby Evans performed some voodoo and somehow got Tampa Bay, a notoriously cheap franchise, to take Denard Span's contract off our hands while also throwing in money to offset some of Longoria's salary for the remaining 5 (Five!!!) years. And that's really the catch with Longoria. He had a very down year in 2017 in regards to his offensive performance. But his defense was solid enough where he won a third Gold Glove. And the Giants like defense. And they like ballplayers. And Longoria is a ballplayer. He's also under contract for FIVE MORE SEASONS when he'll be 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36. And it's not like we have flexibility to move him anywhere besides third base. I mean, where are the Giants going to put him if he declines at third base and needs to be moved off?First base? Belt is there until after 2021. And even if he wasn't, don't we think Posey might be manning 1B at that point? But those discussions are for a later time. In the meantime, the Giants upgraded at 3B with a former franchise star who should help the team this year.
So they didn't get Giancarlo Stanton. They did the ol' Vladimir Guerrero rope-a-dope. They went after the big money, big name guy then didn't get him then spread the money around for lesser guys that better filled out the roster. In this case however, instead of getting some Michael Tucker's and Dustan Mohr's they got Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. And Austin Jackson. And Gregor Blanco. That's not bad. They still have holes in their rotation and their bullpen. I mean, they're really putting their eggs in the young pitching basket with Beede, Suarez, Stratton, and Blach expected to man 2 spots in the rotation and they may be haphazardly putting way too much faith in a young bullpen that has failed to prove they belong so far. Yeah, I'm talking to you Derek Law, Josh Osich, Steve Okert, and kinda sorta Hunter Strickland.
That being said, for a team that wasn't going to rebuild and didn't want to blow their budget all to hell the Giants did a pretty good job. Spring Training is days away and while the Giants may continue to tinker and monitor the waiver wire or keep an eye out for a desperate free agent that somehow fits their budget in the weirdest offseason of all time they have a chance to be substantially better in 2018 than they were in 2017. In fact, if you look at all the mularkey that went on in 2017 and figure none of that mularkey happens in 2018 and the new guys upgrade what were downright woeful areas last season, you might even see the outline of a contender on this Giants roster sheet.
Regardless, according to me the Giants needed to get Stanton, they didn't get Stanton, and this is what they did after Stanton spurned them. All in all, not too bad. Now let's get ready for some preseason baseball!