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Grades for Giants’ MLB offseason moves after late Blake Snell addition – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

The MLB offseason did not go the way the Giants initially had hoped, but after some early heartbreak, San Francisco salvaged a very strange winter across the league with a historic offseason.

Outside of the NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers, who spent more than $1 billion this winter, the Giants had the best offseason of the 29 other teams, adding around $400 million in committed money to players through free agency and trades.

While new manager Bob Melvin’s squad is not a lock for the playoffs, the 2024 Giants should be a lot better and much, much, much more interesting than they were last season.

Here are the grades for the Giants’ biggest offseason moves:

Jung Hoo Lee

The Giants didn’t land their top two targets — Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto — this offseason, but they got their third. Lee might be San Francisco’s most interesting player and brings with him a swagger and aura that noticeably has been absent from the roster in recent seasons.

He didn’t come cheap, and while he certainly could be well worth the six-year, $113 million contract he signed, Lee does join the Giants with one big question mark: How will he adjust to MLB pitching?

There’s no question his defense and athleticism will translate, but it could take him a month or two — or more — to start hitting like the everyday leadoff hitter the Giants need him to be. However, so far in spring training, Lee (10-for-25, HR, 4 RBI) is showing that the adjustment period might not be so long after all.

Regardless, this was a very necessary move that injected an unenthused fanbase with some juice.


Blake Snell

Just when we thought they were out, they pulled us right back in.

The Giants, to their credit, did not get complacent. Even when they already had put together a nice offseason haul.

Signing Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, to a two-year, $62 million contract is a massive win for president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Especially considering Snell reportedly was seeking a contract well over $200 million earlier this offseason.

With Snell and ace Logan Webb atop the rotation, San Francisco has one of — if not the best — one-two punch in the game and rounds out a pretty impressive starting five when healthy.


Matt Chapman

The Giants’ interest in Chapman was one of the worst-kept secrets this offseason. And for good reason.

It took four months, but San Francisco landed its new third baseman, who provides a clear defensive upgrade over incumbent J.D. Davis but might not be as much of an upgrade offensively.

Chapman certainly has a higher offensive ceiling than Davis, but their 2023 seasons were not all that different at the plate.

If the Giants had landed Chapman on a contract well north of $100 million, which he initially was believed to be seeking, this grade might look a little different.

However, the Giants were rewarded for their patience, forking up $54 million over three years. Any doubts about the fit are washed away at that cost.


Jorge Soler

Need. More. Power.

For a Giants team that led the NL in home runs in 2021, the last two iterations of this ragtag roster have been devoid of raw, head-turning power. Until now.

Soler, if healthy, should become the first Giants hitter to slug 30 home runs in a season since Barry Bonds in 2004, and he will do it with a flare and energy that has taken center stage in some of the biggest playoff moments.

Sure, he might strike out a lot and hit in the low-to-mid .200s as an aging veteran, but his role is very simple: Hit home runs. He will do that.


Trade with Mariners

The Giants shipped Mitch Haniger and Anthony Desclafani off to the Mariners for former AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. While this unequivocally is a productive move, the full context is important.

This trade, plus another trade that we will discuss later, essentially is the Giants getting out from under their own mistakes.

Haniger’s first and only season with the Giants was a disaster, and DeSclafani, outside of an excellent 2021 season, has been a major disappointment after signing a three-year, $36 million contract with San Francisco.

Yes, Ray is a nice addition to the Giants’ rotation … in August. But for more than half the season he will be a non-factor. It’s a good move because it helps clear a roster logjam, but it also serves as a reminder of the Giants’ mistakes.


Jordan Hicks

This move, in a vacuum, is great. Despite how it might have been perceived at first.

The Giants either will successfully convert the flamethrowing Hicks into a productive MLB starter, or they will have another hard-throwing righty alongside Camilo Doval at the back end of the bullpen. All for the modest average annual value of $11 million a season.

So far in spring training, the early returns are encouraging. Hicks has allowed five earned runs in four outings while striking out 18 batters and walking seven in 12 innings.

Hicks certainly is a question mark this season, and if the Giants had not signed Snell, this move would have received a slightly lower grade. However, because of the low-risk, high-upside potential in a rotation with lots of depth, this is a nice gamble for San Francisco.


Trade with Athletics

Again, an admission of wrongdoing.

The Giants traded veteran right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling and cash to the A’s for utilityman Jonah Cox. It’s productive, but just like the trade with the Mariners, it was a necessary move to help right the wrongs of last offseason.

Stripling takes his new “Deathball” pitch across the Bay Area, where he will join former Giants teammate Alex Wood in the Green and Gold.

The runway is cleared for Kyle Harrison and the youngsters.


Tom Murphy

Understandably the least exciting move on this list, but an important one.

The Giants needed an established, reliable backup catcher to Patrick Bailey and Murphy is exactly that. The Blake Sabol experiment went OK all things considered, but it’s clear he still has room to grow behind the plate.

Of course, signing Murphy likely signals the end of Joey Bart’s Giants tenure, a No. 2 overall selection that predates Zaidi’s tenure, but a black eye nonetheless.

There’s not much that needs to be said here. A good, necessary move, but it comes with more unfortunate context.


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