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The Giants are facing a great deal of uncertainty in their rotation as they head into free agency. Right-hander Kevin Gausman, by far their most effective starter in 2020, is slated to return to the open market in the coming weeks. The Giants bought relatively low on the former Oriole, Brave and Red last offseason on a $9MM pact, and he then proceeded to post a 3.62 ERA/3.09 FIP with 11.92 K/9 against 2.41 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings. Gausman may now be the second-best pending free-agent starter in the game, trailing only the Reds’ Trevor Bauer, and looks like a lock for a lucrative deal. In the meantime, the Giants will have to decide whether to issue a qualifying offer worth $18.9MM to the 29-year-old Gausman, though it seems “unlikely” they’ll do that, Maria Guardado of writes. The Gausman case is one we at MLBTR have discussed at length in recent days, and we do expect him to receive a qualifying offer, in part because free agency will feature so few starters with front-of-the-rotation potential after Bauer. But in the event Gausman’s not tied to a QO, it would only make him and his 95 mph fastball more appealing on the market.

Here’s more from San Francisco…

  • Guardado’s piece also includes a look at potential non-tender candidates for the Giants. Left-hander Tyler Anderson, outfielder Joey Rickard and infielder Daniel Robertson comprise the group. Anderson seems the likeliest for the starter-needy Giants to retain, as he turned in a useful 4.37 ERA/4.36 FIP over 59 2/3 innings this year; moreover, he shouldn’t be in line for a substantial raise over his $1.78MM salary. On the other hand, Rickard and Robertson didn’t play significant roles for the Giants, combining for just 30 plate appearances, so the team could go in another direction.
  • Right-hander Reyes Moronta was one of the Giants’ go-to relievers from 2017-19, but he missed all of this year after undergoing shoulder surgery at the end of last season. Moronta was working his way back this past summer, but the Giants never brought him up. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained why, saying (via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area): “He was throwing at the alternate site and we just didn’t see him really getting over the hump and showing the kind of stuff that we saw from him last year. It was really as much a medical assessment as a performance assessment.” Still, Zaidi noted that San Francisco has “high hopes” when it comes to the soon-to-be 28-year-old Moronta, who averaged 97.2 mph on his fastball in 2019. Zaidi hasn’t ruled out Moronta evolving into the Giants’ answer at closer, which is something they lacked during a 2020 effort that fell just shy of a playoff berth, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle observes.
  • Reliever Caleb Baragar has hired Wasserman for representation, MLBTR has learned. The left-handed Baragar, a 2016 ninth-round pick who’s now 26 years old, made his major league debut this season. He concluded the campaign with 22 1/3 innings of 4.03 ERA/4.04 FIP pitching and 7.66 K/9 against 2.01 BB/9.
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