With Major League Baseball now suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the thought of baseball not happening in 2020 is no longer out of the question. Of course the league remains optimistic, with commissioner Rob Manfred vowing that “baseball will be back” and “will be part of the recovery,” and that “nothing’s off the table” as the sport outlines its plan to return.
For now, all we can do is wait and speculate as to how an extended delay might affect the league for years to come. For the Giants it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world according to beat writer Henry Schulman, who explained to Mark Willard on Friday why San Francisco is in far better shape than most clubs if the 2020 season is lost.
“The Giants are actually in much better shape than a lot of teams, because they don’t have a lot of core guys that are going to be free agents at the end of the year aside from one and that’s Jeff Samardzija,” Schulman said.
“When you’re in a rebuild situation like the Giants, you sign all these guys for one year. It’s a lark. You’re trying to see if they can give you something for a year to help the team, and you might even trade them in July and try and get something for them, like they did last year with Drew Pomeranz. That’s the one area where it hurts the Giants.”
Other than Samardzija, the following Giants are scheduled to hit free agency in 2021: Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly, Tony Watson, Hunter Pence, Trevor Cahill, Pablo Sandoval, Tyson Ross, Brandon Guyer.
“When you look at the Giants as a rebuilding team, you’ve got Mike Yastrzemski and Mauricio Dubon, those guys are ‘one-plus guys.’ It’s going to be a long time before these guys are free agents so it doesn’t affect the Giants all that much if these guys add a year of service. It might mean that they reach arbitration sooner but the Giants can afford that.
“The players who are going to be part of the Giants’ next wave of contention, if all goes well, are not building up any major league service time because they are in the minors: Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Marco Luciano, Alexander Canario, Seth Corry, Sean Hjelle. These guys are not going to be gaining any service time at all.
“The flip side is that this might push the rebuild back a year if this goes on until July or August, because they’re not going to get the at-bats and innings the Giants feel they need to get to progress. Maybe in 2021 they have to start in the minors where otherwise they would’ve started in the majors.
“In the long run though, the Giants are not going to be affected by the service time issue.”
Listen to the full interview below.