Zaidi ready for Rodón opt-out; ‘mutual interest' in Giants return

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SAN FRANCISCO -- A year after Farhan Zaidi won Executive of the Year, Gabe Kapler was named Manager of the Year and Brandon Crawford finished fourth in the MVP race, the Giants will have just one member of the organization who will get any consideration for the awards that are announced in November. Carlos Rodón should end up on quite a few Cy Young ballots, but he won't officially be part of the organization when those votes are revealed.

Rodón has the ability to opt out of the second season of his two-year deal with the Giants and it'll be one of the easier decisions any player has over the next month. Even Zaidi on Friday said, "We fully expect Carlos to opt out," but the Giants haven't closed the door on a reunion.

"He had a spectacular season for us, there's no doubt about that," Zaidi said on his end-of-season Zoom call Friday morning. "He's going to have plenty of suitors. I'm sure we're going to be talking to (agent) Scott Boras about bringing him back. The feedback from Carlos and from Scott is he enjoyed being here, he enjoyed pitching in our park, and I would say there's mutual interest. We'll just have to see how it plays out."

Bringing Rodón back would be a change in approach for this front office, which almost has exclusively stuck to one- and two-year deals for starting pitchers, and done so quite successfully. Anthony DeSclafani is the only one who has gotten three years since Zaidi took over after the 2018 season, and Rodón should shoot past that when he returns to the open market. 

Concerns about his shoulder limited Rodón last offseason and the Giants were able to sign him to a two-year, $44 million deal. But the standard for someone with Rodón's resume usually is at least five years and $100 million. 

Kevin Gausman had two huge years for the Giants and got a five-year, $110 million deal from the Blue Jays last offseason. Robbie Ray turned a Cy Young Award into a five-year, $115 million deal with the Mariners. A year earlier, Zack Wheeler signed with the Phillies for five and $118 million.

Zaidi said the Giants are not opposed to that kind of deal, and they'll likely have to go there if they want Rodón back given the season he just had. Rodón stayed healthy throughout, posting a 2.88 ERA and finishing second in the NL with 236 strikeouts. He led MLB pitchers in FIP, which strips out the poor Giants defense, and finished second in WAR.

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If Rodón is not back -- and the odds of a reunion are slim -- the Giants will have a hole in their rotation. Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, Alex Wood and Anthony DesClafani are all under team control, but the Giants would prefer Jakob Junis in a swingman role. Zaidi said Kyle Harrison, one of the best pitching prospects in the minors, should debut in 2023 but likely will begin the season in Triple-A. 

"I would anticipate us being in the market for at least one starter," Zaidi said. 

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