Aaron Judge wouldn’t take their money, so the San Francisco Giants decided to give it all to Carlos Correa. Nabbing the best remaining free agent on the board and perhaps the best bat in the entire class, the Giants made a $350-million bet that they’re going to be World Series contenders again soon.
Does Correa return the Giants to glory? Or is San Francisco just sliding toward MLB’s mushy middle? Let’s break it down:
Where do The Giants Stand?
The Giants have had unarguably one of the best offseasons in baseball. All of their moves have made sense, seem like pretty good value, and obviously make them better.
But, they are also starting from a spot that’s hard to build from. After a 107-win season in 2021, the Giants regressed hard last year. They dropped to the middle of the pack in both offense and pitching, but what hurt the most was a fall to one of the worst defenses. A Platinum Glove Sportsbook like Correa should help that, but none of their other additions so far this winter have major impact written all over them:
Giants Additions: OF Mitch Haniger, SP Sean Manaea, SP Ross Stripling, SS Carlos Correa
Giants Losses: 3B Evan Longoria, 1B Brandon Belt, SP Carlos Rodon
Giants’ 2023 world Series odds
Odds from Sportsbook as of December 14
The Giants have climbed up the World Series oddsboard with their offseason moves, but oddsmakers clearly aren’t convinced they’re serious World Series contenders yet. Given the strength of their division, the National League picture and the pretty glaring holes still on the roster, it’s hard to argue with the books.
NL West Might Be Too Tough
The Giants finished 30 games behind the Dodgers, eight games behind the Padres and six games out of a playoff spot last year. Sure, signing Correa, Haniger and the pitchers helps, but does it make up that gap?
Padres Moves: Signed SS Xander Bogaerts, Re-signed P Nick Martinez, Re-signed RP Robert Suarez
Dodgers Moves: Re-signed Clayton Kershaw
On top of the moves San Francisco’s chief divisional rivals have already made, the Padres will get Fernando Tatis Jr. back from injury/suspension early in the season and the Dodgers are sure to make some more splashes, perhaps signing shortstop Dansby Swanson or starting pitcher Carlos Rodon.
Odds from Sportsbook as of December 14
The problem for San Francisco is every National League powerhouse has made a big move and could make more over the rest of the winter. The Braves traded for Sean Murphy, the Mets dumped a boatload of money on everybody, the Phillies signed Trea Turner and even the Cardinals got a good catcher in Willson Contreras. The only NL contender that hasn’t made a major move so far is the Brewers, and even they made a swap for young catcher William Contreras.
It’s gonna be tough to pass the Dodgers and Padres in the division, and the wild-card race looks crowded.
Have The Giants Done Enough?
The Giants have always found a way to get solid pitching, so let’s assume the additions of Stripling and Manaea are enough to get the rotation back into the top 10 in baseball. But it doesn’t look like the gloves or the bats are gonna be good enough, at least so far.
The Giants outfield was a defensive mess last year, with their three worst-fielding players by Zone Rating — Joc Pederson, Austin Slater and Luis Gonzalez — all slated for roles again next season. Bumping Brandon Crawford off shortstop should help the San Francisco D, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be very good next year.
Correa certainly helps the bats, too, but it’s hard to see an offense giving Thairo Estrada, JD Davis, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Joey Bart regular at-bats doing too much damage. Maybe the Giants make one more move, adding an outfielder like Michael Conforto or trading for a power-hitting catcher like Danny Jansen from Toronto. But so far, the lineup doesn’t stack up against the true contenders
The future is bright in San Francisco, for sure, and Correa helps move up the timeline. They have some top prospects on the brink of the big leagues like infielder Marco Luciano, pitcher Kyle Harrison and outfielder Luis Matos. But in 2023, it looks like the Padres and Dodgers are still gonna run the NL West.