Giants' latest moves add to productive yet unsatisfying winter


The Giants promised to have a big offseason. It's likely they'll end up having one of the weirdest ones in the sport's history.

With the additions of Michael Conforto and Taylor Rogers, two deals that are pending physicals (you can pause to take a deep breath if you need to), the front office has committed more than $182 million to six veterans, all of whom have seasons in the not-too-distant past that give the Giants hope that they'll flourish under a coaching staff that has proven to be skilled at getting the best out of players. Put together, it's a solid group of additions. 

At the same time, the organization waited years to make a big splash in free agency and then climbed out of that pool in a shocking and embarrassing way. No matter what the Giants do from here -- and they remain active in the market -- their offseason will be defined by the failure to sign shortstop Carlos Correa, who had agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract before the Giants backed away at the last second because of concerns about a leg injury he suffered in 2014.

This could have, and should have, been an offseason that ended with the Giants atop everyone's way-too-early "winners and losers" columns. But because of the Correa decision, there's just about nothing they can do to avoid taking an L with the fan base, and team officials are well aware of that.

After drawing the fewest fans in Oracle Park's history in a non-pandemic season, the Giants internally are fully preparing to deal with further hits in 2023. They knew Correa would not move the needle the way Aaron Judge would have, but an offseason that included Correa, outfield upgrades, additional starting pitchers, a reunion for the Rogers twins and another year of popular 2022 addition Joc Pederson would have built a lot of momentum.

Without Correa, though, there is no centerpiece. 

Aside from a two-sentence press release, the Giants have not commented publicly on Correa or anything else this week because of the sensitivity of the matter. They are not allowed to discuss a player's health without his permission and doing so with one who has yet to complete his deal with the Mets could open them up to a grievance.

Sources within the front office say the group and ownership are fully aware of the frustration this week has caused for the fan base and even those in the clubhouse. Farhan Zaidi met with dozens of players, coaches and staff members over Zoom on Thursday to try and explain what happened, but right now the only thing the Giants can truly rely on is time.

They'll never recapture the magic of 2021 because that's an impossible standard, but the Giants are hopeful that a strong start in 2023 can get them back on the right track. They believe they've upgraded their outfield defense -- a major issue last season -- and built enough starting pitching depth that they'll no longer have to rely on bullpen games, another major issue. The 2022 season was undone by awful defense and a poor bullpen, and adding in both areas continues to be an emphasis before pitchers and catchers report.

The Giants certainly have made some important strides this offseason, but Correa would have given their haul a player to build around. None of the other six players the Giants have agreed to terms with have a deal longer than three years, and four of the players can hit free agency again after the 2023 season.

The Giants had interest in Conforto and Rogers before agreeing to terms with Correa, although it's unclear if they would have ended up adding both had the Correa deal gone through. Adding either to a mix that still included Correa would have meant a $500 million offseason. 

Instead, the Giants continue to wait for that massive signing, with Shohei Ohtani leading next year's free agent class and Juan Soto a year behind. 

RELATED: MLB Twitter reacts to Giants uniting Rogers twins in bullpen

Those stars seems like an unlikely dream at the moment, but the Conforto agreement was a reminder that wounds heal quickly in Major League Baseball. A day after the Correa deal fell apart, the Giants were back on the phone with Scott Boras, who publicly made life miserable for the Giants on Wednesday and Thursday but privately negotiated the best deal he could get for his client.

Perhaps the next big name the Giants chase will ask them about what happened this month, but the Correa storm will eventually blow over and players will continue to gravitate toward the biggest contracts. In the meantime the Giants are hopeful that some of their own players can create some much-needed buzz.

They expect Kyle Harrison and Casey Schmitt to debut in 2023, and the front office has a lot of belief in David Villar, who hit eight homers over the final month of his first season and has a runway to an everyday job at third base. Homegrown talent always has been the organization's best way to win hearts. Near the end of the weirdest offseason they've ever had, that's going to be their cleanest way out of what has become a messy situation.

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