Giants

Who is the highest-paid player in Giants history?

Giants

The San Francisco Giants have been one of the most successful MLB teams of the 21st century, claiming three World Series trophies over a five-year span from 2010 to 2014. That achievement has brought their players rewards both on the field and in their bank accounts.

From franchise cornerstones to all-time sluggers, a handful of players have earned nine-figure sums from the Giants in their careers. But which player made the most bank in the Bay?

Here are the top five based on their earnings while playing for the Giants (via Spotrac):

5. Hunter Pence

Pence was only a Giant for two of their three titles, but he made an enormous impact.

The former Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder was dealt to the Giants at the 2012 trade deadline and was a starter on the World Series squad that swept the Detroit Tigers. He played the 2013 season on a one-year, $13.8 million deal before cashing in with a five-year, $90 million extension that September. The deal paid off immediately for the Giants as Pence was an All-Star in 2014 and put up team highs with five RBIs, seven runs and a .444 batting average in the Fall Classic against the Kansas City Royals.

 

After spending the 2019 season back in Texas, the eccentric outfielder returned to the Bay in 2020 on a one-year, $3 million deal to finish out his major league career. In all, Pence made $104,339,104 during his seven seasons in San Francisco. 

4. Barry Zito

There were some ups and downs during Zito’s seven years with the Giants.

After spending the first seven years of his career across the Bay with the Oakland A’s, the Giants made a major splash in 2006 by signing the three-time All-Star to a seven-year, $126 million contract, the largest pitcher contract in big league history at the time. Zito never reached the ace status in San Francisco that he had in Oakland, even notching a league-high 17 losses with a 5.15 ERA in 2008.

Still, Zito was with the Giants for two of their titles, though he only got on the mound for postseason baseball in 2012. He was masterful in a Game 5 NLCS win in St. Louis and was the Game 1 starter in the Giants’ 8-3 win over Justin Verlander and the Tigers to kick off the World Series.

Zito’s monster deal with the Giants helped him earn $147,598,823 total in his 16-year career.

3. Buster Posey

The Giants’ commitment to Posey -- and vice versa -- has been rewarded over the last decade.

 

As the catcher of three title-winning teams, Posey has made a grand total of $129,415,000 in his big league career. For an NL Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, batting champion, Gold Glover, six-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger and top-notch backstop, it’s been more than worth it for the Giants to keep Posey in black and orange.

The team made its big commitment to Posey in 2013 with a nine-year, $167 million deal. He will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022 season, but no matter what happens with his future in San Francisco, the team’s devotion to him was a no-brainer.

2. Matt Cain

Spending $146,052,998 over 13 years for a career 104-118 pitcher might seem like lunacy. But during the postseason, Cain came through big time.

He made three starts during the 2010 playoff run and didn’t give up a single earned run, capping it off with 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball in a dominant Game 2 performance against the Rangers in the World Series.

At the start of the 2012 season, Cain cashed out with a five-year, $112.5 million deal. It took him less than seven months to pay back the Giants with another World Series victory, as he started the clinching Game 4 against the Tigers, giving up three runs across seven innings.

Cain didn’t play his best baseball over the duration of that deal, but with two masterful postseasons, the righty was worth the price.

1. Barry Bonds

MLB’s home run king is also the Giants’ contract king.

Bonds made $183,955,000 of the $192,795,000 total from his big league career with the Giants. He left the Pittsburgh Pirates in December of 1992 by signing a then-record six-year, $43.75 million deal in San Francisco. His biggest contract with the team came months after he hit 73 home runs in the 2001 regular season as he inked a five-year, $90 million deal.

 

He hit 586 home runs, 1,440 RBIs and a .312 average while shattering MLB records during his 15 years in the Bay. While he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of the faces of the league’s steroid era, he is unquestionably one of the greatest hitters of all time.