3 Savvy Moves the S.F. Giants Can Still Make Without Breaking the Bank

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIOctober 24, 2013

3 Savvy Moves the S.F. Giants Can Still Make Without Breaking the Bank

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    After signing Tim Lincecum to a two-year, $35 million contract Tuesday, the San Francisco Giants will need to be smart with their money during MLB free agency.

    The Giants entered the 2013 season with the sixth-highest payroll of any MLB team at $142,180,333, according to Deadspin. However, they could easily spend more money than that this season after signing Lincecum to such a hefty contract.

    According to the McCovey Chronicles, the team has already committed to spending $128,480,000 in 2014, and it still needs to acquire two outfielders, two starting pitchers, two relievers and a bench player.

    If the Giants are to stay around the same payroll that they were at last year, they can only spend another $14 million or so. However, filling seven spots on the roster with that little money isn't an easy task.

    If the Giants are going to keep their payroll down, they should look into making these savvy moves this offseason.

Make a Run at Rajai Davis

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    Rajai Davis is a skilled outfielder who could be a star with the Giants.

    After batting .260/.312/.375 with six home runs and 24 RBI in 108 games this season, Davis has proven himself to be an everyday left fielder.

    Apart from his solid offensive production, Davis is also a terrific player in the field. He makes highlight reel plays every other day, as seen by this spectacular catch and throw to finish the inning with a double play against the Boston Red Sox.

    Davis has all the necessary tools to provide a spark in the lineup and be one of the top defensive outfielders in the league.

    What's more, Davis isn't making eight digits like the elite outfielders on the market. He only made $2.5 million this year, according to Baseball-Reference, and the Giants should be willing to spend up to twice that amount on a guy like him.

Sign Phil Hughes to a Short-Term Deal

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    Phil Hughes is arguably the most undervalued pitcher on the free-agency market, and the Giants need to at least make him an offer.

    Hughes looked like a dominant pitcher in 2009, but he slowly got worse. The reason he suffered such an early decline was not because his stuff was weak. Instead, it was because he gave up so many home runs in a hitter-friendly park.

    Yankee Stadium is a launching pad, leading all MLB stadiums in home runs in 2012. Hughes gave up 35 home runs that year and another 24 in 2013, giving him 59 over the past two years.

    Outside of those shots, Hughes was a solid starting pitcher. If he can cut down on the number of home runs he surrenders, he could easily return to his 2009 form.

    The Giants play in one of the easiest parks for pitchers, which could potentially work wonders for Hughes. AT&T Park had the third-fewest home runs of any ballpark this season, making it the ideal place for Hughes to pitch.

    If the Giants were to sign Hughes, he would likely bounce back in a big way and signing him after two bad years would be a very savvy move for the team.

Take a Risk on Josh Johnson

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    Two years ago, it looked like Josh Johnson was on track for a massive new deal this offseason. However, a mediocre 2012 campaign and a disastrous 2013 season have made that impossible.

    Johnson went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013. His season was also cut short in late August due to a strained right forearm.

    Johnson was once an ace for the Miami Marlins, but his decline has scared off a lot of teams.

    The Giants are still looking for a couple of starting pitchers, and it is worth the risk for the team to pay Johnson a few million dollars on a short-term contract.

    Even if Johnson struggles, teams are going to be paying him like the 6.20-ERA pitcher he was last season. This means that the Giants won't have to pay him much money, but there's always the chance that he returns to prime form.

    There may be more than just a slim chance that Johnson comes back as his old self in 2014. He has dominated the NL in the past, and signing with an NL team like the Giants could be a huge boost for him.

    Johnson is a risky player, but the Giants should sign him to a cheap contract in case he comes back as an ace.

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