An official MLB pitch hasn’t been thrown since November 2, 2016. It’s only been a little over three months but for any baseball fan it’s felt like an eternity. Every team and every fan is going into the season with high hopes and that’s not farfetched after the Chicago Cubs were able to finally break their 108-year World Series drought. A’s fans have been deprived for 27 years and Giants fans only 2. Both teams have done their best to rebuild or retool their teams to make a run at a title when October comes around.
Offseason are always busy: minor leaguers get reassigned, aging veterans and players with expiring contracts get traded for young prospects to bolster future outlook, free agents sign new contracts and some of the elite players get lucrative extensions. The Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants are no different, they’ve made moves this offseason in an attempt to put themselves into a position they’re content with.
The A’s have never been big spenders, they usually take on aging veterans and expiring contracts and squeeze out every last bit of value those players have to offer. When it comes to salary and payroll the A’s are always in the bottom third of the rankings. Even with being frugal and utilizing their “moneyball” style of wheeling and dealing, the A’s make the playoffs every now and then against all odds. On the other side of the Bay, as of late, the Giants have become reputable for dishing multi-year triple-digit contracts. The Giants have had a habit of going after big-name free agents and enjoy offering sizeable mid-sized contracts to their home grown players such as shortstop Brandon Crawford and first-basemen Brandon Belt. The Giants have had the fortune of winning three championships during this current decade even with the big spending Los Angeles Dodgers in their division.
We’re at a point in the year now that baseball fanatics consider the unofficial start of the MLB season. This past Tuesday, February 14th, 16 teams had pitchers and catchers report to their respective Spring Training leagues: the Cactus League in Arizona or the Grapefruit League in Florida. In another week, the remaining 14 teams’ pitchers and catchers will also be reporting. Once March rolls around Spring Training will commence, a month of exhibition games with established players and those trying to make a name for themselves. These games are designed to give projected starters a chance to get loose and find their rhythm, minor leaguers a chance to fill active roster space, and invitee’s a chance at earning a minor league contract. Though the games may mean little to nothing in terms of records and stats, but it gives teams a chance to start figuring out who they are and what type of dynamic their dugout is going to have.
The Giants are coming off a disappointing 2016 season in which they triumphed against the New York Mets in the Wild Card matchup but fell 1-3 to the eventual World Series Champion Cubs in the National League Division Series. The A’s finished dead last in the American League West with a 69-93 record, the sixth worst record in baseball last year. There are a lot of new and returning faces for both squads. Here is a breakdown of some of the moves for both franchises.
San Francisco Giants:
- Milwaukee Brewers claim SS Ehire Adrianza off waivers
- 3B Jae-gyun Hwang, SS Jimmy Rollins signed to minor league contract, invited to Spring Training
- RP Mark Melancon signed to 4-year contract
- INF Eduardo Nunez, RP Will Smith, SP/RP George Kontos signed to 1-year contract
- Elected for Free Agency: OF Angel Pagan, OF Gregor Blanco, SP Jake Peavy, RP Sergio Romo, RP Santiago Casilla, RP Javier Lopez
- OF Alejandro De Aza signed to minor league contract, invited to Spring Training
- RP Santiago Casilla, OF Matt Joyce signed to 2-year contract
- 3B Trevor Plouffe, 3B Adam Rosales, OF Rajai Davis, SP Sonny Gray, C Stephen Vogt signed to 1-year contract
- 3B Danny Valencia traded to Mariners
- Elected for Free Agency: OF Sam Fuld