Giants’ Farhan Zaidi On Gausman, Belt, Free Agents (www.mlbtraderumors.com)

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Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi discussed several topics with reporters (including the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea and NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic) earlier this week.  Some notable highlights…

  • Kevin Gausman returned to San Francisco after accepting the one-year, $18.9MM qualifying offer, though the two sides also had some negotiations about a multi-year contract.  However, Zaidi said those talks are “on the back burner right now” while the Giants explore other offseason business.  “We’ve obviously got other things that we’re looking to accomplish….I could see that being something we revisit, but I don’t think anything there is imminent,” Zaidi said.
  • In terms of what else the Giants are working on, pitching continues to be a focus.  According to Zaidi, “we’re in a better position to role the dice on additional pitching moves now that we have Gausman in the fold, bringing us veteran certainty to the front of our rotation.”  Position player additions aren’t as much of a priority given how well the Giants lineup performed in 2020, though in the wake of that success and the more hitter-friendly renovations made to Oracle Park, Zaidi said that free agent batters and their representatives have shown more interest in coming to San Francisco.
  • While Zaidi’s first two years running the Giants’ front office have been defined by his many acquisitions of rather unheralded or under-the-radar players, the team is looking to expand that scope this winter.  As Zaidi said with some humor, “it’s not a prerequisite to be injured or come off a down year for us to sign somebody….I wouldn’t limit our opportunities to just bounce-back guys.”
  • There isn’t any new information on Brandon Belt’s recovery from heel surgery, as Zaidi “it’s a little too early to tell right now” if Belt will be ready by the time Spring Training camp opens.  “Everything we’re hearing is positive, but I don’t think that we have a firm timetable or target date yet,” Zaidi said.  As Pavlovic noted, Belt’s heel problems caused him to miss most of Summer Camp but it didn’t hurt him during the season, as Belt hit an outstanding .309/.425/.591 over 179 plate appearances.
  • In other injury updates, Zaidi said star prospect Heliot Ramos (oblique) and outfielder Austin Slater (right flexor strain) are both expected to be healthy for the start of Spring Training.  Outfield prospect Alexander Canario, however, will miss the start of the minor league season as he recovers from recent shoulder surgery.

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