Giants

Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — It might have seemed like the Giants were taking a long time to hire a replacement for Bobby Evans, but Larry Baer and Brian Sabean knew they had some time before any major baseball decisions had to be made. About three weeks after Farhan Zaidi was hired, the new president of baseball operations is faced with his first major deadline. 

Friday is the non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players, and the Giants have some big names who could potentially become free agents. Using MLB Trade Rumors’ salary projections -- which are generally spot on -- here’s a look at the players the Giants have to tender contracts to by Friday at 5 p.m.:

Sam Dyson ($5.4 million projected salary)

The Giants seriously considered parting ways with Dyson after a miserable spring, and eight months later, he once again is in a precarious spot.

Dyson had a good year, posting a 2.69 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 3.47 FIP in 74 appearances. He’s an absolute workhorse who has made at least 73 appearances three times in the last four seasons. At the same time, $5.4 million — or something close — is a lot to pay for a non-closing reliever, and people who have worked with Zaidi in the past describe him as someone who hates paying big money for his bullpen.

Dyson is a valuable piece, but it’s possible Zaidi will decide he can be replaced by Reyes Moronta and Ray Black, both of whom will make somewhere around $550,000. 

 

Joe Panik ($4.2 million)

One way or another, Panik will be the headliner on Friday. He is coming off the worst season of his career but still is just 28, and it’s reasonable to expect a bounce back at the plate. His defense has slipped a bit since his Gold Glove year, but he still is a strong option alongside Brandon Crawford.

Second base is one of the few spots where Zaidi can adjust the lineup and there are a lot of veterans out there on the market, but it’s hard to see the Giants finding a more cost-effective choice than Panik, who also could serve as a trade chip if he finds his previous form. 

Will Smith ($4.1 million)

This one is easy. He’s the closer, and if the Giants are out of it at the trade deadline, he may be one of the two or three best left-handed relievers available to contenders. He’s a lock to get tendered a contract. 

Hunter Strickland ($2.5 million)

On talent and results alone, this should be a no-brainer. Aside from the second half of 2018, Strickland has consistently been a solid option for Bruce Bochy, and if his velocity returns this offseason, he could be the setup man on Opening Day.

Of course, Strickland has complicated things with a couple of high-profile blowups the past two seasons. The second one -- punching a door -- actually makes this decision easier for the Giants. By losing his ninth-inning job, Strickland cost himself quite a few saves, and some serious money in arbitration.

He’s very affordable for a late-innings arm and should be back. 

Gorkys Hernandez ($1.6 million)

The Hernandez of the first half is worth much more than this. The Hernandez of the second half was an easy choice to be non-tendered. But when combined, you have a good backup option on a roster with just about none of them in the outfield.

Throw in the fact that the starting center fielder, Steven Duggar, is rehabbing shoulder surgery, and Hernandez should be back.