Giants sign Blake Snell to complete an ambitious offseason and reset expectations

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When the San Francisco Giants introduced their new manager last October, Bob Melvin surprised attendees with stories about his past connection with the organization whenever he could in the early afternoon emptiness of their waterfront ballpark. His sense of wonder when I went in, and the times when he’d dodge security to slide down a Coke bottle for good luck.

This is how the offseason started. This is how it ended on Monday: with another exciting free-agent addition, a stomach-dropping total payroll investment of nearly $400 million in new guaranteed money, and a roster that’s built to do one thing.

You don’t need to be Talia Shire in the maternity ward to understand what it is.


If it wasn’t obvious when the Giants signed center fielder Jung Hoo Lee for $113 million, or when they signed designated hitter Jorge Soler for $42 million, or when they bet $44 million that they would be a right-hander. Can replace Jordan Hicks. closer to a hard-throwing starter, or when they relieved the Seattle Mariners of $74 million in future obligations when they traded to rehabilitate left-hander Robbie Ray, or even when they spent the winter-long Ended and guaranteed $54 million to third baseman Matt Chapman, just as news broke that the Giants had agreed to terms on a two-year, $62 million contract with left-hander and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and first Opted out after the season, so everything became clear. ,

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Snell and Giants reach 2-year, $62 million deal

The Giants are going for it. He has redefined what a successful 2024 season in San Francisco looks like. They’ve reset expectations for the future of president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who may be on the hot seat for someone who just agreed to a contract extension. They are no longer content with trying to fight against the competition in the NL West, even though their division includes the team with the deepest pockets, another team that won the NL pennant last season, and another that is the most consistently unpredictable team. Remains in the league. The Los Angeles Dodgers spent an industry-shaking $1.2 billion on Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and others. The Arizona Diamondbacks added their youthful energy, having just made a run to the World Series. And the San Diego Padres continued their hyperactive trend by trading for Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease.

In terms of ambition, the giants have now matched or surpassed them all.

Consider that Snell’s signing did not push the Giants over the luxury tax threshold ($237 million) for the first time since the 2017 season. The Giants are now projected to be a few million over the second cap at $257 million. (The CBT penalty is 20 percent of the overage, or about $4 million from where the Giants currently stand, with an additional 12 percent surcharge on any amount over $257 million.) And although Chapman and Snell are the industry’s Agreeing to a much shorter deal than anticipated and potentially opting out of their contracts after one season, signing them required the Giants to make a concession to their future. Because Snell and Chapman declined a qualifying offer, the Giants will lose their second-round pick as well as a third-round pick this June in addition to $1 million of their international signing bonus pool.

A draft selection may not seem like a steep price to pay. But it may be helpful to think about picks in terms of slot value and not draft position. The 51st pick (second round) last season was set at $1.66 million. The 88th pick (3rd round) was set at $784,000. The Giants’ total signing pool is expected to be in the range of $9.5 million. So signing Snell and Chapman means forfeiting about 26 percent of their draft allocation.

It is the first time the Giants have surrendered multiple draft picks since 2005, when they had no selections until the fourth round after signing Armando Benítez, Mike Matheny and Omar Vizquel last winter. Unlike those three players, who signed multi-year contracts with no opt-outs, Snell and Chapman could leave after one season.

The last time the Giants gave up two draft picks for a free-agent signing, Johnny Cueto was one of the bigger names they acquired. (Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Of course, neither Chapman nor Snell will be giants at market prices on opening day. But it was a strange offseason in which many of the game’s jewel franchises — the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, among others — tightened their spending or sat out the winter entirely. You could argue that Zaidi successfully stymied super agent Scott Boras in order to get two of his clients at drastically lower prices. Or you could argue that the entire industry opposed Boras, and that Zaidi was merely the most aggressive opportunist when the calendar turned to March.

Free-agent scorekeeping and market conditions aside, the Giants’ offseason is surprising in its entirety as it represents their clearest “win or break” game since they traded top pitching for the two-month rental of Carlos Beltrán. Prospect Jack Wheeler was traded to the Mets. In the summer of 2011. At the time, the Giants were attempting to become the first NL team to win consecutive World Series titles since the Big Red Machine of the mid-1970s. It was a bold stroke that blew up in his face — and the outcome might have been different had the Giants not won the World Series again in 2012 and ’14.

Now the Giants are a decade away from one last moment hoisting the trophy. They’re desperate to regain fan engagement. They have to quell the discontent of paying customers (a dwindling number of them), who have complained about seeing a starless roster that lacks durability and continuity, and who have begun to wonder whether the big guys at the top of the organizational pyramid There are structural issues.

The Giants interrupted a massive push for continuity of the game day experience on Monday morning when they announced they had parted ways with Raynell Brooks-Moon – their public-address announcer and ballpark ambassador since their Waterfront Stadium opened in 2000 – over a contract dispute. (The news release, which was emailed after 6 a.m., was actually titled, “Ahead of 2024 season, Giants name Rennell-Brooks Moon public address announcer emeritus,” proving once again that the worst of PR spin The type that insults everyone’s intelligence.)

These are no longer Peter Magowan’s giants. There is now very little romanticism left in personnel decisions. You don’t have to be a management consultant to understand not only that we are all replaceable, but also that we are all destined to be replaced on this planet. Times change, people change, things are as fleeting as ballpark experiences change. What are considered efficient business decisions can often be unpopular. But dissatisfaction can be made temporary.

This is victory. It is believed that victory will fix everything. The giants are betting on this. So after they got reprimanded for Ohtani and Yamamoto, they spent $400 million to overhaul their roster. They have two new starting pitchers (and a third when the trainer comes back from the room), a new third baseman, a new designated hitter, a new center fielder, and even a new backup catcher. A manager has to bring together a lot of different parts at short notice and turn them into a cohesive team. Melvin may have escaped the chaos in San Diego, but his new program suddenly has an equally enthusiastic mandate. Not being able to play in the postseason will no longer be considered a disappointment. This would be a disaster.

Either a win will fix everything or the organization will face a massive downfall. It won’t be a graceful slide downwards.

(Top photo: Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

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