Giants have ample production to replace six weeks into MLB free agency


If you go to a team page on baseball-reference, you'll see pictures of the top 12 players for each season, sorted by Wins Above Replacement. It can be a fun trip down memory lane. 

Click on the 2015 Giants and you'll see Matt Duffy, Jake Peavy, Chris Heston and George Kontos mixed in among the longtime core Giants. Go back to the last title team and you'll see photos of Jean Machi, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco. Pull up the legendary 2010 team and the first two photos are of Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres. 

The 2019 team didn't provide nearly as much value as most recent Giants clubs, but if you pull up the page for last season, the first thing you notice might be a little scary. Sorted by WAR, seven of the 12 Giants listed won't be on the roster on opening day. 

Now, the 2019 Giants weren't good, so it's not like running it back was ever something that should have been under consideration. They went 77-85 last year but won so many one-run games that they actually had a better record than expected. Their Pythagorean record (based on runs scored and allowed) was just 71-91. 

But Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris have said they want to be competitive as deep into next season as possible. This isn't a race for the No. 1 draft pick, and there's a lot of production that needs to be replaced before the team reports to camp in February ... 


Madison Bumgarner

He agreed to a deal with the Diamondbacks over the weekend, and no matter how you feel about the situation, there's no denying that Bumgarner brought a lot to the Giants last year. He was worth 2.8 Wins Above Replacement and leaves 207 2/3 innings that need to be filled. 

Will Smith

One of the best relievers in the NL, he's now a Brave. Smith was worth 2.2 WAR and the Giants don't currently have an obvious choice for the ninth inning. 

Pablo Sandoval

He sneakily provided 1.5 WAR and hit 14 homers while balancing out Evan Longoria. There was no choice to be made with this one. Sandoval had Tommy John surgery and will miss most of the season, but that's still some production that will need to be made up. 

Kevin Pillar

Before Bumgarner departed, non-tendering Pillar stood as the most controversial roster decision of the offseason. There are valid baseball reasons for the move, but that's still 1.4 WAR and 21 homers that's headed elsewhere. You're not supposed to talk about RBI in 2019, but Pillar drove in 87 runs last year. That production will need to be replaced. 

Stephen Vogt

He'll now catch Bumgarner in Arizona, and the Giants will need to find another backup catcher. Vogt was a perfect complement to Buster Posey, and he actually outpaced him by some metrics. Baseball-reference had Vogt at 1.2 WAR and Posey at 0.9; FanGraphs has Posey at 1.8 and Vogt at 0.9. 

Reyes Moronta and Sam Dyson

The Giants traded Dyson in July, he had shoulder surgery, and there are very good off-field reasons beyond that to keep him out of a clubhouse. But he threw 51 strong innings in four months for the 2019 team and Moronta, who is out until July or August with his own shoulder surgery, threw 56 2/3. These guys made solid contributions to last year's win total and will need to be replaced. 

[RELATED: Why Giants didn't keep MadBum forever]

Just from the free agents alone, that's over nine Wins Above Replacement no longer on the roster. You can argue that those players were likely to decline or not worth the investment, but there's no arguing how much raw production the Giants have to replace. 

There is some good news when you look at that leaderboard, though. Mike Yastrzemski (2.8 WAR) and Donovan Solano (1.6) ranked in the Giants' top six, and Zaidi has proven adept at finding those types of players in his career. The Giants will keep churning through the roster in hopes of building a sustainable winner. They'd better hope some of the players shine sooner than later because otherwise, it's going to be another very ugly number in the loss column.