NBC Sports

Why Wood believes Giants' success last season was 'no fluke'

NBC Sports
Alex Wood

Over the last 12 months, Alex Wood has twice hopped on Zoom to do a press conference celebrating a deal he signed with the Giants. If you weren't on both calls, you would have a hard time figuring out which one this quote came from.

"I felt I had some unfinished business ...  I had the opportunity to go back to a team that looked like it was going to be the best in baseball."

Wood said that in January, and the full quote includes the words "in Los Angeles." He had considered signing with the Giants before the 2020 season, but he wanted to give it one more shot with the Dodgers and earlier this year he explained how that pull led to him signing back there after the 2019 season, not with the Giants, who made a hard push behind Farhan Zaidi. 

But that quote also would not have been that out of place last week when Wood spoke about a two-year deal that will keep him in San Francisco. He was part of a 107-win team in his first season as a Giant, and he believes he's signing up for two more years of contention. Asked if what he saw last year is sustainable, Wood smiled and pointed to his own history as a big leaguer. 

"I've won the division a lot, I've gone to the World Series three times, I've been on some really good teams ... I've never won 107 games on any team I've ever been on until last year," Wood said. "There's no way around it, 107 wins, there's no flukiness about 107 wins. Winning 107 games, there's no fluke about that.

 

"You've got to play the most consistent, great baseball day in and day out -- clean baseball -- that you possibly can to win that many games. We've got a lot of that core coming back."

Wood re-signed a few days after Anthony DeSclafani did, and the Giants had previously guaranteed that Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt would be in the heart of their order. But there will be some changes, and as the Giants were finalizing the Wood deal, Kevin Gausman was signing in Toronto. The bigger loss will come behind the plate with Buster Posey heading off into retirement. 

"Obviously you're missing one big piece that's riding off into the sunset after a great career but you've got a good young guy coming up (in Joey Bart) to hopefully try to fill those shoes as best he can with a good guy in Curt (Casali) to mentor him," Wood said. "You feel great about our group, man. There's no ego in the clubhouse at all. It's hard to say that in any clubhouse you're ever in, especially at this level.

"Guys just come to work every day ready to do their job to the best of their ability whenever their name is called. It's a special thing to have and hopefully we continue to build off that and do our jobs like we did this past year."

The Giants have plenty of work to do, but Zaidi and Scott Harris put an emphasis on the rotation for the first month of the offseason and it became pretty clear to them early on that bringing two familiar faces back was the way to go. Wood said he and his wife were "ecstatic" to be returning to San Francisco. He fell in love with the culture in the organization and he was appreciative that Zaidi -- who knew him from Los Angeles and has chased him throughout his Giants tenure -- was aggressive when free agency started.

"I think it's important for any player, whether you're in free agency, arbitration, under control, it's nice to know that you're really wanted and they made that clear from the beginning of the offseason," he said. "They really wanted to bring me back, so I was just super grateful to be wanted like that and to be a part of what they're continuing to build in San Francisco."

RELATED: Winners, losers from start of free agency

The Giants couldn't have asked for much more from Wood's first season in San Francisco. He was signed for just $3 million in January but made 26 starts and posted a 3.83 ERA and 3.48 FIP. Wood brought an edge to the rotation and served as a stopper, seemingly always stepping up when the Giants had lost a couple of games. He bolstered his reputation by performing well in a Game 3 win at Dodger Stadium during the NLDS. 

 

Wood warmed up in the bullpen at Oracle Park three nights later but never got into Game 5. Unlike Wood's 2020 Dodgers, the Giants couldn't complete the run once they got into October, but Wood is confident they'll be back in that situation.

"Every season you want to come back the next year and make a bigger, better run than you did the year before," he said. "Obviously we've got World Series thoughts at the front of our minds. This past year was just more vindication to show that we're ready for the spotlight and we can compete with anybody. You feel good about the group we have. 

"It'll be interesting to see what we do the rest of the offseason, but it's a great group of guys and I'm really, really excited to go back and do battle with them next year."

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast