Giants Talk

Why Giants were OK forfeiting picks, international money for Snell, Chapman

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants might have a dozen homegrown players on their 2024 Opening Day roster, and the hope within the organization is that the number is much higher in future years.

Building from within is important for any front office, but particularly vital for the Giants, who won three World Series titles that way and have seen in the decade since that free agency can be a cruel game. That made it noteworthy that the Giants gave up multiple draft picks as well as international signing bonus money by adding free agents Matt Chapman and Blake Snell to the roster late in the offseason.

Both Chapman and Snell rejected the qualifying offer last fall, and the Giants gave up their second-round pick and $500,000 in international pool money when they signed the third baseman earlier this month. By adding Snell this week, they forfeited another $500,000 from that pool, along with their third-round pick.

On Thursday's "Giants Talk," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained why the Giants were willing to make the tradeoff.

"We feel really good about the pipeline that we have coming through the system and getting close to the big leagues, particularly on the pitching side, which was one aspect of kind of getting over the mental hurdle of giving up the picks and the international space," Zaidi said. "It's never a comfortable thing. You always want to be able to have those assets to keep the pipeline of young talent going, but we just felt this was a relatively unique opportunity.

"The deals offer the players flexibility, they also offer the team flexibility because you're not in the realm of long-term commitments. There's going to be a cost somewhere for that, and that's just how it happened to play out in this case."

The cost is not insignificant in either amateur market. Recent Giants second-rounders include Casey Schmitt, Carson Whisenhunt and Walker Martin, with the latter two currently ranking among the organization's top five prospects. The Giants took Kyle Harrison in the third round of the 2020 draft and a year later drafted Mason Black, who could debut as soon as the opening road trip.

By forfeiting the picks, the Giants are also giving up the corresponding slot values, or about 25 percent of what they otherwise would have been allowed to spend in the draft. On the international front, the Giants are forfeiting a large chunk of a budget that was previously projected to be just under $6 million.

Even with that hit, team officials are still very confident they'll be able to put together a strong international class. They're rumored to be the favorite to sign shortstop Josuar de Jesus Gonzalez, one of the best players in the 2025 class, and the loss of international spending flexibility won't impact that potential deal.

The missing prospects will be felt at some point, and it will sting a bit more if both Chapman and Snell use their opt-outs after just one year. The Giants can't recoup those picks by putting the QO on their new stars, but there's an easy path for it all being worth it.

When the Giants arrived in camp, FanGraphs gave them about a 25 percent chance of making the postseason. Snell and Chapman -- plus new designated hitter Jorge Soler -- bumped that figure up to 44 percent. The Snell signing moved their projected record to 83-79, with FanGraphs projecting them as a Wild Card team at the moment.

There's a future cost to the latest additions, but if Chapman and Snell help lead the Giants to the postseason for just the second time since 2016, it's one the organization will be all too happy to pay.

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