It didn’t take long after the lockout ended for activity to ramp up in baseball. For Larry Baer, President of the San Francisco Giants, he had big plans to hit the ground running. While the first signing may have officially gone to the Cardinals, Baer was quoted saying he would be as aggressive as possible now that he was allowed to get his plans underway. We’ll look at the trajectory of the team and how its leadership is putting their roster together.
Before the Lockout
The Giants witnessed the biggest development during November, about a month before the lockout started. During the offseason, Buster Posey announced he was retiring, a big loss for the team. They also lost Kris Bryant who had to wait an additional year (due to his contract) before being able to swim the free agent waters.
To complicate matters even more, all four veterans on the pitching staff were also going to be free agents too. Kevin Gausman went to Toronto and Johnny Cueto remains on the market. The Giants stuck with Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood and brought Alex Cobb to the table too. This would ensure that they would have a solid rotation by the time the season started.
Proposed starting rotation:
- Logan Webb, RHP
- Anthony DeSclafani, RHP
- Alex Wood, LHP
- Alex Cobb, RHP
- Tyler Beede/Sean Hjelle, RHP / Sammy Long, LHP
The team also added Brandon Belt, who will likely play first base. Wilmer Flores and José Álvarez are sticking around, though Alex Dickerson and Donovan Solano are unlikely to return. The Giants have around $107 million in salary obligations and their most recent payroll was around $170 million. The team is around $40 million under the new luxury tax negotiated during the lockout. Now that the Giants have passed on Sam Delaplane, Joe Palumbo, and Luis González, Larry Baer needs to focus on finding the last few players to round out the team. The new universal designated hitter means that an extra spot will need to be filled quickly.
Proposed starting lineup:
- Tommy La Stella
- Brandon Belt
- Brandon Crawford
- Lamonte Wade
- Evan Longoria
- Mike Yaztrzemski
- Darin Ruf
- Austin Slater/Steven Duggar
- Joey Bart
The name of the game right now is versatility. The Giants are in a position where they need to find players who can both tackle and excel wherever they’re needed on the field. The varying degrees of expertise on the field have some worried that they won’t be able to handle the pressure. It’s one of the reasons why Larry Baer was so keen to get in on the free agent action as soon as the proverbial ink dried.
Before the lockout, the Giants had already made a lot of moves to cement their status this year. During the scramble, there were a lot of people who had opinions about who would be best at what team and in what position. (Many have speculated that Seiya Suzuki would have been the best addition to the Giants, though he ended up going to Chicago.) One thing that seems certain is that Bryant is unlikely to come back to the team, though he may fit in as a universal designated hitter in future seasons.
Whatever happens this season, though, and however well the players work together, Baer always has the same principles guiding his decisions. First and foremost, he wants fans to love and take pride in their team. Win or lose, he delivers the kinds of performances that people want to watch and cheer for. The lockout was a difficult period for him, one that was marked by a sincere empathy for both players and fans, all of whom counted on a resolution to get back to the game they loved.
It’s Baer’s responsibility to ensure that the daily operations of the organization are all working toward a similar goal. This mogul is dedicated to his home city of San Francisco, and it shows in all the work he does. As a fourth-generation San Franciscan born in the bay, his world is built around a team and a park that brings joy to roaring fans who all just want to have a good time and watch the stand-outs take shape right in front of them. While the World Series wins behind him are impressive, what Baer really excels in is the ability to infuse hope in everyone with strategic moves made at the right time.