Farhan Zaidi

Zaidi sheds light on Giants' remaining free-agency plans

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There was a little extra energy in the clubhouse on Sunday, when both Jorge Soler and Pablo Sandoval settled in at Giants camp. On the eve of the first full-squad workout, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi talked of how a big late addition like Soler can bring a nice jolt to camp as the work really starts. 

The Giants, though, don't expect another big name to walk in the door any time soon. 

Zaidi said he thinks the roster is just about set at the moment, although he left the door open to more spending down the line. He also seemingly sent a message to Scott Boras, the agent for four marquee free agents still on the market. 

"Tomorrow is our first full-squad workout and it gets kinda harder, not just operationally to add people, but you feel some level of commitment and obligation to the guys who are here competing for jobs," Zaidi said. "It's a little bit more disruptive to add at this point and anybody who is a free agent, we've theoretically had 3 1/2 months to figure out a deal and if it hasn't happened yet, at some point organizationally you just need to turn the page and focus on the players you have in-house. 

"You never rule anything out, whether it's now or May or June or whatever, but at this point it's just where the calendar is. Obviously it makes any further additions unlikely, but again, we'd never close the door on that entirely."

Boras represents Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, all of whom make sense for the Giants to some degree. Chapman, in particular, has been a target, and it's no secret around camp that manager Bob Melvin would like to see his former Gold Glove third baseman join him in San Francisco.

But the price has been high throughout the offseason, unreasonably so, the Giants feel. They filled the power gap by signing Soler to a three-year, $42 million deal, and they have maintained that they love their young starting pitchers and are fine with opening the year with Jordan Hicks, Kyle Harrison, Keaton Winn and Tristan Beck behind Logan Webb.

In speaking publicly about possibly being done with big spending, Zaidi joined other executives around the game who chased some of the top free agents this winter. The Toronto Blue Jays -- rumored to be after Bellinger and Chapman -- and Texas Rangers -- an obvious fit for a Montgomery reunion -- are among the teams that have had executives come out this week and say the winter spending likely is done.

Of course, Boras will find a home for his four stars. His track record in doing so is strong, and Zaidi himself was willing to jump into the fray late a few years ago when Bryce Harper remained unsigned as camp approached. 

If another major addition isn't made, the Giants feel they have the coverage they need early in the year. The talk of camp thus far has been the depth of high-upside and young starting pitching, and J.D. Davis is eager to return to his ways from the first half of 2023, not the second half. The Giants have been rotating Marco Luciano, Casey Schmitt and Tyler Fitzgerald at shortstop early on, with Luciano the frontrunner. 

Zaidi said the Giants still could add shortstop depth, but any immediate moves may be more similar to the recent addition of Otto Lopez, a 25-year-old middle infielder who long has been a target for this front office.

"I think it's possible we still add, but he definitely fills a need in terms of being a guy with options, a guy who can come in here and compete, a good defender, a good athlete, good baserunner," Zaidi said of Lopez. "As with most of the guys who we wind up acquiring through [cash trades], he's a guy we've had interest in in the past. It's a nice skillset. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if he's somebody who could develop into an everyday player, even at shortstop. He can make contact, he draws walks, he can run, he can defend."

If the Giants are done with big moves, Lee ($113 million) will go down as their biggest offseason bet. Overall, with Lee leading the way, they rank second among current free-agent spending, trailing only a Los Angeles Dodgers organization that blew away the field.

Zaidi chased Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto early, only to watch the Dodgers add both for more than $1 billion in guaranteed money. That won't keep him from taking a similar approach next offseason, he said. 

"I think we're just going to continue to take the big swing in free agency when it makes sense," Zaidi said. "Some of the guys we've pursued and haven't landed are top five, 10 players in baseball. I've said this about a couple of them -- I'm always surprised there aren't more teams in on them rather than the fact that they wound up somewhere else.

"You expect those to be really competitive and it's just the reality. Like we talked about at the beginning of the offseason, we always feel like we have to be able to pivot when things don't work out and I think we've added some exciting players, and I think you can feel that energy in camp so far."

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