But while we forgive fans for not necessarily reaching the acceptance stage yet, Hot Stove season leaves very little time for mourning. The 2024 season is coming one way or another, and it’s now incumbent upon Zaidi to figure out how to get the Giants back to the playoffs for the first time in three years — and inject some life into a franchise that’s been playing anonymous baseball in front of dwindling crowds. (And he better do it quickly, as the pitching market figures to get busted wide open with Yamamoto off the market.) With Yamamoto gone elsewhere, what’s the Giants’ Plan B? How can they best pivot, and who might they target in the days and weeks to come? Let’s break it down.
What should Giants do next after missing Yoshinobu Yamamoto?
Turn Yamamoto’s money into multiple starters (but not Blake Snell)
There isn’t a pitcher available who has anywhere near Yamamoto’s star power or upside. But there is still quality to be found, and while the Giants don’t have the sort of farm system that can win a bidding war for someone like Dylan Cease, they do have a ton of money to spend — as evidenced by their reported $325 million offer for Yamamoto.
San Francisco should use that money to add not just one but multiple starters behind stalwart Logan Webb. The easy answer would be to just move a rung down the free-agent ladder and make a run at reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell, but Snell’s age, durability and command issues are likely to give the ever-cautious Zaidi pause. But there are two other lefties who would be great fits: World Series hero Jordan Montgomery and fellow Japanese import Shota Imanaga. California native Lucas Giolito would also likely come at a small discount and could be a nice bounce-back candidate in a park as friendly to fly ball pitchers as Oracle Park.
Sign Matt Chapman
Zaidi has reiterated that upgrading the Giants’ often-woeful infield defense is a top priority, and landing a perennial Gold Glove candidate in Chapman would do just that. The 30-year-old’s market has been awfully quiet so far, but he’s a solid if streaky bat who brings the kind of athleticism to the hot corner that San Francisco could really use — and which would allow J.D. Davis to toggle between first base and DH.
Trade for Willy Adames (or another shortstop)
San Francisco has also reportedly been in the market for a shortstop upgrade, with veteran Brandon Crawford coming off a poor and injury-plagued season at age 37 and top prospect Marco Luciano still wet behind the ears. Elvis Andrus, Tim Anderson and Amed Rosario are the top shortstops on a dreadfully thin free-agent market, meaning Zaidi will likely turn to a trade to upgrade the 6. Adames would fit the bill as an elite defender with plus power from the right side, but someone like San Diego’s Ha-Seong Kim could also make some sense here given his versatility, athleticism and OBP skills.