The 2021 season for the Giants was record-setting, despite the team’s unfortunate loss to the Dodgers early on. It’s having everyone wonder what exactly will happen in 2022 and whether spectators should consider 2021 little more than a fluke. SF Giants CEO and President Larry Baer, the sports visionary who led the efforts to keep the Giants in San Francisco, talks more about the lessons to be learned and the future ahead.
In the Beginning
When the Giants had already set a precedent for around 70 wins in the season, they weren’t necessarily considered a contender in 2021. Their 107-game win, a record exceeded by only 12 other teams in baseball history, came out of nowhere for those who weren’t paying attention.
The reality is that this wasn’t luck, but the careful execution of a well-planned strategy. Even with their series loss, there’s no doubt they saw major success this year.
Larry Baer is responsible for many of the daily decisions made about the franchise’s operations. From initial scouting to roster building, he knows just how much work goes into each and every win. As everyone makes plans for next year, there are a few major questions to be answered.
Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood will all be free agents this year, and it will make for big changes to the rotation if they don’t come back. Kris Bryant will also be a free agent for the upcoming season, and the Giants certainly have the money to take a chance on him. Not only has he proven his versatility, but he’s also comfortable playing with the team. so the question for Baer is whether they can come to terms that they can both live with.
The other names being tossed around are Brandon Belt, Donovan Solano, Buster Posey, and Johnny Cueto. There will be some difficult decisions coming up based on everything from finances to age to performance.
The Future of the Team
It’s undeniable that the Giants had some outstanding players in 2021. The question is, how much longer can some of the older players keep it up? Crawford, Ruf, Longoria, and Posey are all in their mid-30s, and they’ve also all shown varying degrees of strain from the sometimes brutal physical demands of the game. Posey and Ruf have fared exceptionally well all things considered, but this feat can’t go on forever.
Larry Baer also has to think about the long-term probability of players like Logan Webb and LaMonte Wade Jr. These guys have been tearing up the field this season despite not having the track records to back it up. It could be a one-hit wonder situation, though it’s possible it just took them a while to hit their stride.
Some experts have also posed concerns over the bullpen and whether its notorious volatility will have a major effect on the team’s record for next year. It’s certainly promising given the talent of players like Kervin Castro and Dominic Leone, but it would be overconfident to make assumptions at this point.
Channeling Resources Into Better Operations
Larry Baer knows what it means to use his vast array of resources wisely. While some commentators put the Giants in the middle of the pack for next year, Baer is looking to replicate his most recent season by focusing on everything from successful scouting tactics to the strongest possible roster. After having all the wins in the rearview mirror, it’s clear that Giants fans have a reason to trust who’s in charge.
Of course, the financial wealth of the team doesn’t hurt either, and decision-makers like Baer aren’t afraid to spend big. These risks have clearly been rewarded if you look at the ticket sales for the upcoming season.
Key Strategist and Negotiator
Larry Baer has had a lifetime of finding opportunity, no matter how hard it tries to hide. His career is a mix of successful signings, including that of Barry Bonds in 1992. In addition to proving his expertise in working with the players, he’s also been instrumental in everything from naming rights to property development.
With him at the helm, there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful about the Giants’ performance next year. Between the talent of the players, the commitment of the coaching staff, and the forward-thinking approach, this team can go quite far. Baer certainly looks forward to bringing it all to fruition.