The San Francisco Giants were the most successful team during the 2021 regular season, with 107 wins and a National League West title over their arch rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers took revenge in the Division Series, however, and look like the favorites in 2022.
The Giants got the very best of their resources, squeezing productive seasons from several members of the lineup such as LaMonte Wade Jr., Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and the recently retired Buster Posey.
They also had the luxury of getting third baseman Kris Bryant at the deadline.
The former MVP and World Series champion was very good with San Francisco, hitting .262/.344/.444 with seven homers in 212 plate appearances.
Overall, combining his stats with his time with the Chicago Cubs, he hit .265/.353/.481 with 25 blasts.
A Proven Star
All things considered, the Giants need Bryant, a proven star at the top of his physical abilities and with valuable regular season and playoff experience.
However, at the moment, a reunion is unlikely because the Giants are reluctant to pay a contract over $100 million.
San Francisco would be smart to keep the most talented pieces on their roster, and Bryant is certainly one of them.
The Giants already lost Kevin Gausman, so they shouldn’t lose another 3-4 wins in their lineup, which is what Bryant usually contributes per Wins Above Replacement.
Giants still need to replace Gausman and either re-sign Bryant or replace his bat. That still leaves us minus Buster's offensive production.
— AirCoryell (@AirCoryell1978) December 1, 2021
Bryant, 30, could keep the Giants’ lineup extra competitive.
Longoria is expected to be the starting third baseman if Bryant is not with the team in 2022.
While Longoria had a solid season (.261/.351/.482 line in limited at-bats), he is 35 and unlikely to repeat that performance.
In addition, Bryant’s versatility would allow him to play almost every day while giving Longoria at least two or three starts per week.
Well, Bryant can play both infield corners, potentially spelling the oft-injured Belt at first base, and the outfield corners, too, where Wade Jr. and Mike Yastrzemski are penciled as starters.
If the negotiations between MLB and the Players Association result in the introduction of the universal designated hitter, that, plus Bryant’s versatility, would provide many potential lineups and alignments for manager Gabe Kapler.
There Will Be A Lot Of Competition
The problem with re-signing Bryant is that there appears to be too many clubs interested in his services once the lockout is lifted.
So far, these teams have made their interest public: the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, and San Diego Padres.
MLB Trade Rumors also named a few teams that would make sense for Bryant, such as the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees, for example.
That’s a lot of competition, and the Giants don’t like the fact that they could enter a bidding war to be able to retain their man.
The move at the deadline to get Kris Bryant was "about pushing the chips on this team." What about re-signing him? Zaidi said Bryant will have a lot of suitors and they'll have to see how the market plays out. Anyone else reading between the same lines here?
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) October 18, 2021
In any case, they should be making an effort to keep him, because he not only offers a potent bat and a versatile glove, but he also brings a postseason pedigree that the current Giants’ roster, besides Crawford, lacks.
Only time will tell if San Francisco will be truly engaged in retaining the infielder, but they should.