The aggressive approach to free agent spending employed by Zaidi and Putila has, at least in the short run, backfired. The nine free agents brought in, re-signed or extended have collectively cost San Francisco more than three games in the standings.
Here’s the first-half report card on the Giants front office. Note that grades for players departing the organization are based on the reverse of those players’ WAAs with their new teams.
Mode WAA Grade
Acquired -0.7 C
Traded +1.1 D
Signed -3.3 F
FA Lost -0.8 C
Rookies 0.0 C
Overall -4.2 F
Since the end of the 2022 postseason, Zaidi and Putila have made 36 personnel moves affecting the team’s 2023 big league roster. Those moves have not, as group, panned out. Only 15 of them brought short-term gain to the Giants; 21 of the 36 have so far turned out to be costly.
With that in mind, it’s fascinating that the Giants are actually playing better, not worse, than they did in 2022. The answer lies in the overwhelmingly upbeat showing made by the team’s returning cast.
In 2023, the Giants have used 20 players who were already on board prior to Putila’s arrival, effectively making them holdovers from the previous administrative team. Those 20 include the guys most fans think of when they consider the 2023 Giants: Logan Webb, Joc Pedersen, Mike Yastrzemski, Brandon Crawford, Lamonte Wade Jr., Thairo Estrada, and Alex Cobb.
Collectively those 20 have been worth +7.6 WAA to San Francisco’s cause. They — not anything done by Zaidi and Putila — are the reason for the team’s turnaround.
If anything, in fact, Zaidi and Putila have been working against, rather than with, the grain of improvement in 2023.