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Murph: On Opening Day, looking at clues about the direction of the Giants

© Rick Scuteri | 2021 Mar 12

Happy Opening Day, Jock Blog Nation!

Buy me some peanuts, Cracker Jack and . . . clues about the direction of the Giants?

This Jock Blog is being written hours before the 2021 season begins in Seattle. 

And when the Giants take the field, you will be looking at . . . a total mystery.

Here comes catcher Buster Posey: not signed next year.

Here comes first baseman Brandon Belt: not signed next year.

Here comes shortstop Brandon Crawford: not signed next year.

Here comes infielder Wilmer Flores: not signed next year.

Kevin Gausman . . . Johnny Cueto . . . Anthony DeSclafani . . . Alex Wood . . . Jose Alvarez none guaranteed next year.

Has anyone checked the status of Lou Seal’s contract?

So what we’re saying is, the 2021 Giants who hit the field will be about as big a mold of unshaped clay as any we can remember in recent Giants history. Three-fourths of this team may be in the recycling bin next year. 

This is Farhan Zaidi’s vision: Get me to 2022, and let me paint my masterpiece. In the meantime, let me sign some dudes with some pop, swing for the fences and enjoy the pressure-free air of low expectations.

By my admittedly bad math, if the Giants opt out, as expected of the Posey and Cueto contracts, they are on the hook for roughly $27 million in guaranteed money in 2022. Or as it is known in Oakland A’s vernacular, Billy Beane’s most erotic baseball fantasy.

What does that mean for 2021? It means this is one of the most direction-less teams in recent Giants memory. I’d say 2008 comes to mind, but you had Tim Gosh Darn Lincecum winning the Cy Gosh Darn Young Award that year. So. That comp doesn’t hold. Seriously, you’d have to go back a long way to find a team without any seed or purpose like this team. 

Clearly, Heliot Ramos and Joey Bart are the future. And you’d think, as Chris Russo said on our show this morning, that one of the big free agent shortstops — Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javy Baez — is well within reach to replace the legendary Brandon Crawford in 2022.

Can the 2021 Giants entertain us still? Well, sure. They have power. And Farhan has an eye for arms, like Gausman. Farhan proved it last year with finds like Drew Smyly and Tyler Anderson, who took the Farhan Cruise — one year in the Bay, then out. Like a tech worker who now calls Austin or Miami home.

And baseball contains mystery. You never know when a team can create something bigger than the sum of its parts. Maybe Logan Webb finds that next level with his change up, and stitches together a special year. Maybe Austin Slater and Mauricio Dubon hit some sort of groove that bodes well for 2022. 

And of course, there will be sentiment surrounding Buster, Belt and Crawford. Lot of memories we will have to process.

In the meantime? It’s baseball, kids. That may have to be good enough for now. And after 2021, it just might be.


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