Things could not have gone much better for the San Francisco Giants in 2021, when they went 107-55 in the regular season. They wound up losing a hard fought series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs, but their outlook for the future looked quite bright as a result of their sudden success last season.
Unfortunately, the 2022 season has not gone the same way for the Giants. They have already lost the same amount of games as they did last season, and there are still two months of baseball left to be played. At 51-55, the Giants are sitting seven games out of the final wild card spot in the National League, which is currently a three-way tie held between the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Milwaukee Brewers.
The Giants almost certainly aren’t going to make the playoffs, and even if they do, they aren’t going to walk away as World Series champions. San Fran’s front office somewhat acknowledged this, trading away a few lower-level players for little return. But they failed to move bigger name players, and it will cost them in the future. One player in particular that the Giants almost certainly should have traded was Carlos Rodon, and trading him is the move that San Francisco should have made at the 2022 MLB trade deadline.
The 1 move the San Francisco Giants should have made at the 2022 MLB trade deadline
Trade Carlos Rodon
The Giants added Rodon to their rotation this offseason with the anticipation that he would help lead them back to the playoffs. Rodon signed a two-year, $44 million deal in free agency, joining a Giants rotation that took the MLB by storm last season. Things haven’t gone as well in 2022, though.
That’s largely not Rodon’s fault, as he has been solid for the second straight season. He has a 9-6 record with a 3.00 ERA and 158 strikeouts so far this season, and has easily been San Francisco’s most consistent starter this season. The rest of San Francisco’s starters around Rodon have regressed a bit, and it’s led to the downfall of the Giants.
Given where the Giants find themselves in the standings right now, it would have made a lot of sense to explore potentially trading Rodon at the trade deadline. He’s been really good for the Giants so far this season, and he profiles as a top of the line rotation option that could have helped a playoff team make a deep run this season.
San Francisco wasn’t opposed to trading Rodon, but they ultimately never pulled the trigger despite interest from some of the top teams in the league. Why they didn’t is a mystery. The Giants aren’t going to be winning a World Series this season, and could have gotten a couple of good prospects in return for Rodon.
The main problem the Giants reportedly had when it came to trying to deal Rodon was his contract. The Giants included a clause that would allow Rodon to opt out of his deal if he were to pitch in 110 innings this season. Rodon has already eclipsed that number, so the possibility that he could opt out of his deal at the end of the season scared teams off.
Even then, trading Rodon still would have made sense for the Giants. They probably aren’t going to re-sign Rodon this offseason if he opts out of his deal, so they may as well have tried to recoup some value for him while they could. Instead, they stood pat and decided to hold onto him for whatever reason.
Assuming Rodon can finish off the final two months of the season without getting injured, he will probably opt out of his current deal with the Giants and try to land a bigger deal in free agency than the one he just got with the Giants. This deal was more of a prove it deal for Rodon than the long-term deal he was looking for, and so far this season, he’s proven his arm can handle the large workload the Giants have handed him.
Even if it was for a return less than what the Giants were expecting, trading Rodon at the deadline would have been a sensible move for San Fran. They aren’t contending, he’s probably not going to come back after next season, and their farm system could use some help. By holding onto him, the Giants have gained nothing.
San Francisco was flirting with unloading some of their veterans at the deadline, but they ultimately didn’t do much, and it’s going to cost them moving forward. Teams that struggle to admit they should be sellers often pay a steep price in the future, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Giants lose Rodon for nothing this upcoming offseason.