Blake Snell

Ex-MLB GM pegs Giants as best free-agency fits for Snell, Hoskins

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Plenty of top MLB free agents have come off the board this offseason, but there are some left on the market who could make sense for the Giants.

In his latest column for The Athletic, former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden predicted where the league's top 10 remaining free agents could land -- and he lists San Francisco as the "best match" for two veteran players in Blake Snell and Rhys Hoskins.

Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, seems like an obvious Giants target after they missed out on both Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto this winter. The pitcher is the No. 1 available free agent on Bowden's list, and the ex-GM believes the Giants are Snell's best fit despite San Francisco recently trading for former Cy Young winner Robbie Ray and signing right-hander Jordan Hicks to a four-year contract.

"[The Giants'] rotation is led by Logan Webb, and they hope rookie lefty Kyle Harrison, who logged a 4.15 ERA in seven starts last season, is major-league-ready," Bowden wrote. "The Giants also have Ross Stripling and Keaton Winn, but if they want to contend, they need another starting pitcher to pair with Webb at the top of the rotation.

"Enter Snell, who won the NL Cy Young Award last year with the [San Diego] Padres. He’s seeking a contract close to the seven-year, $172 million deal that Aaron Nola got from the [Philadelphia] Phillies, but his market has not reached anything close to those heights."

Snell certainly would give the Giants the one-two punch they've been looking for alongside Webb at the top of their rotation. The bonafide ace also is familiar with new Giants manager Bob Melvin, whom Snell played for in San Diego. It remains to be seen if Snell eventually will enjoy the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park in the Orange and Black next season, but it remains a possibility as long as he is unsigned.

Hoskins, on the other hand, is described as "plan B" for several teams, including the Giants. The first baseman/designated hitter finished the Phillies' 2022 MLB season with 30 home runs and a .246/.353./.492 slash line before undergoing knee surgery in March 2023.

"The [Chicago] Cubs, Giants and [Toronto] Blue Jays — the same trio that has been in on [Cody] Bellinger and [Matt] Chapman — will be considering Hoskins, who missed all of last season after ACL surgery, as a backup plan. So if Bellinger returns to Chicago and Chapman returns to Toronto, I could see Hoskins signing with San Francisco."

The Giants have been linked to both Bellinger and Chapman since the offseason began, but there has been little sign of movement on either front. Hoskins' bat could help San Francisco, should they fail to land Bellinger or Chapman, as the team finished 19th in the league in homers last season.

While the Giants likely aren't done shoring up their roster for 2024, they have made some key additions including Jung Hoo Lee, Ray and Hicks. But with spring training less than a month away, fans will have to wait and see if Snell or Hoskins makes their way to the Bay.

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