The San Francisco Giants continue to make moves in the offseason. And, while they may not be the flashiest, the front office has tried to make one thing clear: They take care of their own.
Despite losing free agents 3B Pablo Sandoval (Boston Red Sox) and LF Michael Morse (Miami Marlins), their two latest moves have been proof of that.
Recently, the Giants agreed to one-year deals with key contributors in each of the last two postseasons: SP Ryan Vogelsong and SS Brandon Crawford. After the club’s third World Series win in five years, Vogelsong was a free agent, while Crawford was nearing arbitration after his fourth straight one-year contract was nearing its end. The front office took care of both players in the past week: Vogelsong re-signed to a $4 million contract last Friday, while Crawford avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.175 million deal earlier today.
Many indications were that Vogelsong, at least, would not be back. The 37-year-old right-hander was being courted by the likes of the Colorado Rockies and the Houston Astros – the latter of which was a favorite to sign the veteran. As late as a week ago, Vogelsong and the Astros were in serious contract talks, and to many Giants fans, he was as good as gone.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the one Giants fans affectionately call “Vogey” agreed to stay with the team with which he won two championships. Talks with Houston apparently broke down in a puzzling turn of events – something Vogelsong considered “Divine Intervention” – and, with an extra nudge from his wife Nicole, he returned to the loving arms of AT&T Park. He will provide experience and depth for the pitching staff, no matter where he ends up – either in the rotation or in the bullpen.
As for Crawford, the signing was a compromise between the reliable shortstop and his club, as they both continue talks of a contract extension. In the offseason, Crawford asked for a $3.95 million contract, while the Giants counter-offered with a $2.4 million deal. The two sides met at the middle, and the 27-year-old will return for his fifth year with the club.
Again, these are not the flashiest of signings – for many a baseball fan, it may look like the Giants are grasping at straws, after a number of failed attempts at landing big free agents. But this has always been how the front office has operated. Sure, they’ve made a few “loyalty” signings over the years …
… but, even so, the team has delivered a city three amazing, improbable, wonderfully insane World Series titles since 2010. And, despite many nay-sayers’ best efforts, it’s difficult to question Larry Baer, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy.
It’s easy to continue focus on not retaining Sandoval or Morse; not getting Jon Lester or James Shields in the free agent market; or trading for names like Cole Hamels in the past couple months. But, at the end of the day, the Giants have always been considered a team that, minus Buster Posey and their various aces over the years, have always been an amalgamation – an enigma of a group – that had figured out ways to win when it mattered most (in even-numbered years, at least).
So, continue to revel in the 2014 World Title, Giants fans – and do like Aaron Rodgers says: “R-E-L-A-X”.