For all of the secrecy at Oracle Park and the occasional gamesmanship with the lineup, the Giants will sometimes flip all their cards over for the baseball world to see.
Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris said repeatedly during and after a 107-win season that they intended to keep the gang together, and so far they're checking off every box. Brandon Crawford was re-signed during the season, Brandon Belt accepted the qualifying offer, and on Monday, the Giants announced a three-year deal with Anthony DeSclafani and reportedly are getting close to bringing Alex Wood back, too.
Zaidi telegraphed all of this after he signed Crawford to an extension and again after the Giants lost in the NLDS, and the strategy didn't all have to do with the 107 wins. The Giants felt they found a special mix in the clubhouse, one that truly was greater than the individual parts, and it was hard for anyone to argue after watching what unfolded over six months.
"The way this group gets along off the field as well as the way they were able to bring out the best in each other on the field, it just kind of adds a level of motivation to retain as many of these guys as you can," Zaidi said last month, "Which you would have after a season like this anyway."
This won't be a total rerun of 2021, of course. Buster Posey's retirement guaranteed that no matter what Zaidi and Harris do before February, the clubhouse and lineup will be dramatically different. In re-signing DeSclafani, the Giants also DFA'd Alex Dickerson, who was going to get non-tendered next week anyway.
There will be changes, but when it comes to their rotation, the Giants are poised to surround Logan Webb with as many familiar faces as possible.
"I think for us to kind of keep a lot of the same fabric of the roster was really important," Zaidi said Monday afternoon. "There's still ways we can improve and upgrade but I think there's sort of proof in concept with the group of players that was here last year and that's going to continue to be a theme of ours this offseason. We can't be overly narrow-minded, we need to make sure we're exploring the entire market both in trades and free agency for ways to improve, but again, our free agents have expressed interest in coming back, which is a great sign.
"A lot of them had really good seasons and we think they can continue to help us going forward."
DeSclafani and Wood were targets who fit the one-year mold last year, and assuming the Wood deal gets done this week, that will leave just Kevin Gausman on the market. He came on a one-year deal the year before and has been the best of the bunch, which means he will be Zaidi's greatest test this offseason.
Gausman could get the biggest deal of any starting pitcher this winter, and that ultimately might keep the Giants from running it back with their top four starters from 2020. But by doing a lot of their work before the holiday, the Giants have guaranteed that the rotation will be in solid shape even if a lockout begins next week, and they'll know exactly what they're getting in the players who have rejoined Webb.
"We've talked a lot about wanting players that want to be in San Francisco and want to be part of this organization," Zaidi said. "(DeSclafani) and others that are still free agents were very strong in that message to us about their interest in coming back, which obviously is validating for the organization but also helps move these negotiations in a positive direction."