When you think of Farhan Zaidi, Scott Harris and this revamped Giants front office, you think of additions like Mike Yastrzemski, Kevin Gausman, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Darin Ruf. But you should never lose sight of the big story from Zaidi's first offseason in charge.
Zaidi spent weeks chasing Bryce Harper, trying to put the superstar in the heart of a rebuilding lineup. He has had tremendous success with reclamation stories in San Francisco but is not at all opposed to bringing in the biggest fish in the pond.
That brings us to the biggest question over the next four days for the Giants. Will they work around the edges, bringing in undervalued assets and hoping their coaches and analytics people can work their magic?
Or will they take a big swing, the kind that will have the Dodgers and Padres dropping their heads.
Let's examine those big swings. In an ideal world, what would the Giants do before Friday's 1 p.m. PT deadline? Here are three big-time options.
Lineup: Kris Bryant
The former NL MVP was basically built in a lab to be a Giant. Plays multiple positions? Check. Good on-base skills? Check. Power? Check.
Bryant, who currently has a 132 OPS+ and 17 homers, is very popular on this market and would fit any contender's roster. He would be perfect for the Giants, who are stuck in a weird position of having a bunch of starters coming back, but also not knowing how healthy the roster will stay through September.
Bryant has double-digit appearances at first, third, left, center and right this season, so he could fill just about every gap on the roster. Left would seem to be the primary need right now, but he could platoon some with Steven Duggar in center and provide infield insurance in case either Brandon Belt or Evan Longoria doesn't stay fully healthy.
More than anything, he would provide Gabe Kapler and a creative coaching staff with unlimited options late in games. Bryant could slide back and forth as Kapler plays the platoons and brings on his line changes, keeping a power bat in the heart of the order at all times.
Rotation: Max Scherzer
The conventional wisdom has been that the Giants would prefer a pitcher under control past this year, since Logan Webb is the only current member of their rotation with a contract going past the end of this season.
But Zaidi pushed back on that a few weeks ago, and a rental actually might make more sense.
A rental would be cheaper, although someone of Scherzer's caliber certainly wouldn't come cheap. Scherzer reportedly has made it clear that he prefers the West Coast if he is to waive his no-trade clause, and dealing for him could have the added benefit of keeping him out of Los Angeles or San Diego. That might be enough to keep the Giants out of the NL Wild Card Game.
While the Dodgers and Padres have luxury tax concerns, the Giants are nowhere close, and they could pretty easily swallow Scherzer's deferred salary. The cost in prospects would be high, but in return you're getting a Game 1 starter in a postseason series. Scherzer has a 2.83 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 105 innings. Throwing him into a rotation with Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood could make the Giants a World Series favorite, and the super-competitive veteran seems a good fit for their clubhouse.
Bullpen: Craig Kimbrel
We're really asking Harris to make a lot of calls to his old boss, huh? That should be a slight advantage for the Giants, and like the other two on this list, Kimbrel stands head and shoulders above similar options.
Raisel Iglesias and Taylor Rogers (who suffered a finger strain on Monday) are intriguing, but Kimbrel is far and away the best reliever available. The right-hander has a 0.49 ERA, 23 saves and 15.7 K/9, and he would immediately give the Giants an edge over any opponent in the late innings of October games.
Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee have been great, but the postseason is a different beast, and the Giants would be a lot tougher if Kapler could play the matchups with those two -- plus Jarlin Garcia and whichever right-hander is hot -- in the sixth, seventh and eighth and then turn a lead over to Kimbrel.
Unlike the other two on this list, Kimbrel has a team option ($16 million) for 2022, but that's just another benefit for a Giants front office that has a ton of money coming off the books this winter and a virtually clean slate going forward.
If you can't add an ace, the best thing you can do for postseason success is to find a way to shorten games. Kimbrel does that better than anyone out there.