Which San Francisco Giants players are entering free agency?

Oct 5, 2023, 9:23 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 13: Michael Conforto #8 of the San Francisco Giants at bat in a ...

(Photo by Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/Getty Images)

Now that the book has officially closed on the San Francisco Giants’ 2023 season, it’s time to look ahead to the future.

Who will enter free agency this winter, and which players could potentially exit or return to the Giants for 2024 and beyond?

Let’s dive into San Francisco’s list of impending free agents and contemplate who will and will not be back when the Giants take the field on Opening Day 2024.

San Francisco Giants that will enter free agency

Brandon Crawford

Following an emotional send-off during Sunday’s season finale, it’s likely that Crawford will announce his retirement from baseball during the upcoming offseason.

Although the longtime Giants shortstop has yet to decide whether or not it’s time to hang it up, San Francisco’s president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi, told reporters this week that young infielder Marco Luciano is in line to start next season at short.

“We view Marco as our shortstop next year,” Zaidi said during his end-of-season press conference on Monday. “I know that’s been Craw’s position. I don’t want to speak for him. I don’t know that it’s appropriate to say anything beyond that publicly. I know he hasn’t decided himself what he wants to do.”

Crawford batted a career-low .194 with seven home runs and 38 RBI in 2023. After an illustrious 13-year career with his childhood team, expect the Giants’ franchise leader in games played at shortstop to ride off into the sunset.

Joc Pederson

Pederson, another Bay Area native, will enter free agency for the second straight season.

After picking up the $19 million qualifying option last winter, Pederson hit .235 and drilled 15 home runs while posting a .764 on-base plus slugging percentage over 121 appearances.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see San Francisco bring the 31-year-old back on a short deal, but expect the Giants to try and fill Pederson’s role with a long-term option before resorting to running it back with the 2022 All-Star.

Alex Wood

Wood posted a 4.41 ERA over 81 appearances with the Giants over the past three seasons.

The left-hander’s 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 2023 was nearly a career-low, which could be problematic if San Francisco hopes to bring Wood back in free agency.

Seeing the Giants part with Wood makes sense in a year that could feature plenty of turnover, as Zaidi will look to bring in upgrades across the board.

Wood’s $12 million contract coming off the books can also give San Francisco more financial flexibility this winter.

Jakob Junis

In his second season in orange and black, Junis finished with a 3.87 ERA over 40 appearances (four starts).

The right-hander transitioned from a starting role to the bullpen in 2023, something that worked out for the Giants as Junis posted a career-high in K/9 (10.0).

Junis could be an enticing bullpen option for San Francisco, but you have to wonder if opposing teams would be inclined to give the veteran another chance at starting games to lure him out of the Bay.

John Brebbia

Brebbia has been a staple of the Giants’ bullpen over the past two seasons, appearing in 116 games while posting a 3.47 ERA over 106.1 innings.

The 33-year-old is another player that San Francisco could look to retain in order to solidify the bullpen.

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Roberto Perez

Perez, who will turn 35 this offseason, missed most of the 2023 season due to rotator cuff surgery.

With the emergence of Patrick Bailey and Blake Sabol, it’s unlikely that San Francisco will reunite with the veteran backstop this winter.

San Francisco Giants that hold player options

Michael Conforto – $18,000,000

Just last week, The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly reported that Conforto is expected to opt-out and enter free agency this winter.

Conforto, who missed the entire 2022 season while rehabbing a shoulder injury, mashed 15 home runs and hit .239 over 125 games in 2023.

While the 30-year-old’s numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet, the market for corner outfield help–specifically left-handed corner outfield help–puts Conforto in a good spot when it comes to securing a lucrative long-term contract.

Super agent Scott Boras will likely seek a multi-year contract that locks Conforto into his next stop for years to come.

San Francisco is unlikely to break the bank on Conforto, so seeing him depart for another destination this winter wouldn’t be shocking.

Sean Manaea – $15,000,000

Following a rocky start to his Giants career, Sean Manaea turned a corner during the season’s final months.

From July 29th through his final appearance of the season on September 27th, Manaea was arguably San Francisco’s best pitcher:

  • 14 games
  • 4-3 record
  • 2.61 ERA
  • 48 K
  • 51.2 innings

Manaea’s transition from starter to long-relief unlocked his A-game, and it’s more likely that the lefty will opt out of his contract to seek a long-term deal.

San Francisco will likely evaluate other options before seeking a multi-year pact with Manaea, but he is a solid option for pitching depth after his turnaround to end the season.

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Ross Stripling – $15,000,000

After an impressive 2022 season that saw Stripling post a 3.01 ERA over 32 games with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Giants brought the right-hander in to bolster its rotation for 2023.

Instead, Stripling turned in a 5.36 ERA over 22 appearances while missing a chunk of the season due to a back injury.

While it would benefit San Francisco if Stripling opted out of his contract, he is very unlikely to get anything near his $15 million salary on the open market.

Expect Stripling to opt in for 2023.

Players that the San Francisco Giants hold club options on

Alex Cobb

Cobb was a force for the Giants early in the season, but the veteran ran out of gas as the season unfolded.

First half: 6-2, 2.91 ERA, 86 K over 89.2 innings

Second half: 1-5, 5.25 ERA, 45 K over 61.2 innings

While Cobb might have faded late in the season, he did enough to motivate San Francisco to bring him back for 2024. Cobb’s $10 million option could be a steal in comparison to what starting pitching will go for on the open market.

Having Cobb in a rotation with Logan Webb and Kyle Harrison to open up free agency puts the Giants in a strong position on the starting pitching front.

MLB Playoffs Schedule

  • Division Series – October 7th-14th
  • Championship Series – October 15th-24th
  • World Series – October 27th-November 4th

MLB Offseason Schedule

  • Five days after the World Series ends – MLB free agency begins
  • Five days after the World Series ends – Player and team options must be exercised or declined
  • November 17th – Non-tender deadline
  • December 6th – Rule 5 Draft
  • Mid-February – Spring Training begins

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