Giants Pick Up Michael Conforto & Taylor Rogers After Messy Week

The expectations surrounding the San Francisco Giants this winter were quite high. Flush with money to spend, many did believe that the Giants were poised to pick up at least one of the marquee free agents available this winter. That, however, did not happen. Still, the Giants have made a number of additions to its 2023 team. San Francisco added two more names to its roster, as former All-Stars Michael Conforto and Taylor Rogers are both reportedly headed to the Bay Area.

Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the best closers in baseball?

A Look at Conforto & Rogers

Michael Conforto is set to return to the field for the first time since the end of 2021. Conforto originally entered free agency last winter, but failed to find a home. During the lockout, Conforto suffered a shoulder injury that resulted in shoulder surgery that was performed on the outfielder in April of this year.

Conforto came up from the Minors in 2015, after being drafted in the first round by the Mets a year earlier. Conforto performed well for the National League champions, as he clubbed 23 extra base hits and put up a.270/.335/.506 slash line for the Mets in the second half of that season. The former Oregon State star struggled in 2016, and actually spent some time in the Minors later that year as a reset.

After that sluggish season in 2016, Conforto developed into of the game’s better outfielder. A former All-Star in 2017, Conforto recorded an OPS+ at or above league average in every season from 2017-21. The 29-year old will strike out more than one would like, but when healthy, has above-average power, the ability to push the ball to the opposite field, and a plus eye at the plate. Conforto recorded walk rates above 12.0% in four different seasons, well above the league average of 8.4%.

As for LHP Taylor Rogers, this serves as a reunion with twin brother Tyler. The two now will be a part of the same bullpen, but both are very different as pitchers. The left-hander possesses a low-3/4 delivery, and utilizes two pitches: a fastball that will sit in the mid-90’s and a low-80’s slider. The new Giant was a key piece of the Twins’ bullpen from 2018-21 as the lefty record a 2.91 ERA and 11.3 K/9 with Minnesota over those four years. At the start of 2022, Rogers was moved to San Diego in a deal that sent right-handers Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan to Minnesota.

The 2022 campaign was a mixed bag for Rogers, who sported a career-low 4.76 ERA last season. Rogers did struggle with walks more than in the past, as his 2.7 BB/9 marked his highest since 2017. On top of that, batters recorded a 8.8% Barrel% rate in 2022, above the 32-year-old’s average. Still, the left-hander did display hit & miss stuff. Rogers was among the best in baseball in terms of inducing whiffs, thanks in large part to a plus slider that is a fantastic weapon against left-handed hitters.

Conforto will head to San Francisco on a two-year contract, a deal that included an opt-out after 2023. Rogers, meanwhile, reportedly agreed to a three-year worth $36 million

What it Means

No one can accuse the Giants’ brass of not being active in free agency. San Francisco signed two back-end starters in Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling, and found a new right fielder in former Mariner Mitch Haniger. However, the failure to reel in California native Aaron Judge from The Bronx, as well as the Carlos Correa saga, will be the two most memorable moments from the Giants this past winter. Not to mention, the Giants also lost the franchise’s ace from 2022, Carlos Rodón, to the Yankees in free agency.

San Francisco returned to reality in 2022, after a monstrous and unexpected 107-win campaign a year earlier. The Giants won 81 in a tough NL West this past season,. Hitting the .500 mark again will be tough come 2023. San Diego and Los Angeles return strong units, and while the Giants did make a number of needed improvements, it’s hard to call the Giants a contender. Sure, the Giants have a good rotation and an improved lineup. But with two of the game’s best in the same division, nothing will be easy.

One other takeaway from the Giants’ offseason as a whole is that many of the team’s signings came on short-term pacts. All of San Francisco’s major signings, including the one-year qualifying offer to Joc Pederson, had lengths of three years, or less. Per Spotrac, the Giants have a total tax payroll of $75 million for 2024, thanks in part to the fact that the likes of Pederson and Brandon Crawford will come off the books after next season.

This could set up the Giants to be very active next winter, in a free agency pool that could feature Rafael Devers and Shohei Ohtani. Now, will that happen. It’s too early to tell now, but it is a possibility.

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