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Susan Slusser discusses Giants’ free agency, interest in Cody Bellinger

© Brett Davis | 2023 Sep 26

Giants beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle Susan Slusser joined MLB Network recently, and discussed a number of Giants topics related to the offseason.

First was Sean Manaea, who after signing a two-year deal worth $25 million last offseason, declined his option with the Giants this offseason. Manaea’s season in SF did not go particularly well. He struggled in a starting role and dealt with injuries. He then bounced around between long reliever and bullpen duties, before regaining a starting role late in the season and finishing strong.

Reports were that he did not like how he was used last season, but perhaps being reunited with his old A’s manager, Bob Melvin, is something he might be interested in in 2024.

Here’s what Slusser had to say on Manaea:

Manaea was not happy in San Francisco last year. Never showed it, never talked about it, was a complete pro. But his role was kind of all over the map and he felt like that did not help him much. When he went back to a full-time starter role late in the season, he performed really well. That’s what he wants. He trusts Bob Melvin. I think if he did agree to go back to San Francisco, and he loves the Bay Area…, I think that it would be because of Melvin. I think they have a shot at him now because of that hire.

On the offensive front, there are still a number of question marks. The Giants have basically signed one everyday offensive player in centerfielder Jung Hoo Lee. Otherwise it’s just been moves on the margins. SF still has work to do, but Slusser believes that filling the DH spot is an area where they have a few options even without Joc Pederson.

Slusser on DH:

Joc Pederson, the Giants brought him back last year on a qualifying offer, but I think the DH spot becomes one where, especially with adding Lee and maybe adding another outfielder — I don’t think Bellinger is off their radar despite the potential cost — I think the DH spot is one where they can run Michael Conforto through. They could run Mitch Haniger through. Guys who have had some injury issues the last few years, and give other guys a break here and there. Do a little bit of mixing and matching without necessarily making it a platoon thing on a daily basis. ‘Hey maybe you’re not in the outfield today, but you’re going to be in the lineup.’

Finally, Slusser discussed who else the Giants could target. She believes they are still in the market for a shortstop — the presumed starter is Marco Luciano — a starting pitcher and another outfielder. On the outfield front, Sluss believes there is an obvious target.

Slusser on Cody Bellinger:

I think there’s decent interest, I do. They obviously have plenty of money to spend. Now if they go out and get both Snell and Chapman, maybe that changes the parameters. If they get one or the other, get Bellinger. You’re going to have to do things a little bit differently in the NL West these days. I think they could very much explore a trade for a shortstop, or another pitcher, or potentially an outfielder. There are a lot of moving parts there, but I think Bellinger back on the West Coast, back in the Dodgers’ division, would be a lot of fun. He was a guy I really had hoped they’d go after last year. I thought he was a great fit, partly for those reasons. I think the Cubs probably have the upper hand there, but if the Giants get any sense at all that they can be in it, I think they should really pursue that strongly. Then suddenly that outfield looks like one of the best around.