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Giants find replacement for Kevin Gausman in Carlos Rodón

The Giants desperately needed one more starter and they got the best available free agent.

Division Series - Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox - Game Four Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants won 107 games last season and stunned the world. There was an expectation of a rising rival dethroning the Dodgers, but that team was the San Diego Padres, and a collapse even kept the friars out of the playoffs.

Anyone’s interpretation of what’s the place for the Giants in the table of contenders is just that, but even the more optimistic fans should and do expect some form of regression. However, that doesn’t mean this isn’t a contending team that cannot threaten for the division title and more.

A major reason why Gabe Kapler’s players were able to compete at such a high level was the pitching staff. Breakout star Logan Webb should continue to develop and pitch more innings, but the ace of the staff left for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Giants needed to replace the production of Kevin Gausman, and given the track record of this regime, they were only going to pursue a big-name starter on their own terms. That’s exactly what Farhan Zaidi did a day after the lockout ended in what was the first big signing announced this side of the new CBA.

The San Francisco Giants signed Carlos Rodón to a two-year, $44 million deal.

There’s a lot to unpack with that announcement, so let’s break this down into phases, first and foremost the details of the deal.

  • This is a two-year contract, but Rodón gets an opt-out following the 2022 season
  • The former White Sox pitcher will earn $21.5 and $23.5 million in 2022 and 2023 respectively
  • Because the White Sox didn’t offer Rodón a qualifying offer, the Giants get the left-hander without the loss of a draft pick. The same can’t be said about the Blue Jays and Kevin Gausman, which is a plus for San Francisco

Carlos Rodón had many question marks heading into free agency. Here was a left-hander with pedigree who had finally been able to put it all together. The 29-year-old put up a 2.37 ERA over 132 2/3 IP, but his team doesn’t even extend him a qualifying offer.

The assumption was that the White Sox knew something regarding Rodón’s health that we didn’t. Whether that is the case remains to be seen. What we do know is that the Giants, one of the more savvy organizations in the sport, were willing to pay Rodón more money than the value of a qualifying offer in 2021. At $44 million, this is the largest contract given out by Farhan Zaidi both in terms of annual average value (AAV) and guaranteed money.

Carlos Ródon and Logan Webb should form a great one-two punch if all goes well. The left-hander doesn’t handcuff the team financially, which is the ultimate sign of how the team is run. Rodón also gets a chance to prove he can be healthy over a full season and cashing out with a long-term deal in 2023.