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How La Stella's Giants contract is different in Zaidi era

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The only Giant with a guaranteed contract for 2023 is one who hasn't even put on the orange and black yet. 

The Giants made their three-year, $18.75 million contract with Tommy La Stella official on Thursday. It's the longest contract handed out by Farhan Zaidi since he took over in 2018, surpassing Wilmer Flores' two-year deal that included a team option. La Stella also got the second-biggest guarantee, falling just short of Kevin Gausman's $18.9 million qualifying offer. 

The Giants now have two players under contract for next season, La Stella and third baseman Evan Longoria, who likely will cede many of the third base at-bats against right-handed pitchers. La Stella's deal was backloaded, with a $2 million salary this year, $5.25 million in 2022, and $11.5 million in 2023. It includes yearly contributions to the Giants Community Fund totaling about $94,000. 

La Stella, who turned 32 last week, broke into the big leagues with the Atlanta Braves in 2014 and spent four seasons as a utility man with the Chicago Cubs. The Los Angeles Angels gave him more consistent playing time in 2019 and La Stella rewarded that faith, hitting 16 homers in 90 games with a .346 on-base percentage. 

La Stella had a .371 on-base percentage and four homers (including a walk-off against Trevor Gott for the Angels last year) before getting traded to the A's. He had a .289/.369/.423 slash line while primarily starting at second base. 

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La Stella can play second or third, giving the Giants a much-needed left-handed bat at both spots. He also has experience at first base, a more subtle need, although still potentially an important one. Brandon Belt, the only left-handed hitter among Giants first base options, is coming off heel surgery. 

 

To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the Giants DFA'd outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, who was picked up from the White Sox last summer. Basabe potentially was a pick to add a left-handed bat to center field, but he was out of options, which would have made it tough for the Giants to carry him as a fifth outfielder. 

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