NL Notes: Giants, Phillies, Free Agent Spending

4 weeks ago
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Everything is on the table for the Giants this winter, per the Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly. It’s a different kind of offseason this year, but the constant is that teams always need to build their depth, says Giants President Farhan Zaidi. Baggarly provides this quote from Zaidi, who says, “Look, we’re in a big market. We consider ourselves a signature franchise. When you look at that group of teams, there’s always an expectation for how they might act.”

Zaidi and the Giants view themselves as being in a transition phase, and many in the industry would agree. At the same time, as Zaidi points out, they’re coming off a season in which they just missed the playoffs. If a below-market opportunity jumps out at Zaidi, the Giants could end up as buyers in free agency, even at the upper levels for the right guy, it seems. But there’s not likely to be a quick-strike headline for San Francisco. Broadly speaking, Zaidi predicts a slow-moving market this winter.

The Phillies expect to be slow-movers as well, per the Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro. Team President Andy MacPhail – who for now remains the top decision-maker in the baseball ops department – said in reference to the Phillies’ plans for free agency (per Montemurro), “…the likelihood of a significant add, I think, in the short term or even midterm is not very high.” MacPhail also generally observes that teams are more concerned with subtraction than addition at this point in the offseason. Even in a normal year, trimming payroll where possible and maximizing open spots on 40-man rosters predates most additions in free agency. This year more than most, however, teams have prepped the baseball-sphere for the prospect of limited spending.

By MacPhail’s account, Philly plans on being one of the more judicious clubs this winter. That’s not great news for those hoping to see J.T. Realmuto return to the Keystone State. Still, his statement leaves some room for a bigger move down the line. As Zaidi pointed out, it’s likely to be a slow market this winter on the whole. MacPhail could simply be prepping the fanbase not to expect a big signing, as he says, in the short-or-near-term. Long-term, the Phillies could potentially jump to the buyers column. Realmuto, however, is one of the free agents likelier to sign on the earlier side, given his standing as the top catcher on the market.

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