Ryan Vogelsong is in the second year of his deal that paid him $3M last season and pays him $5M this season. The club has an option for next season at $6.5M ($0.3M buyout). Safe to say they'll pick it up and pencil him in for 30+ starts. Matt Cain is locked up until at least 2017. Madison Bumgarner is, too. Jeremy Affeldt is inked for 2014 and 2015, as is Santiago Casilla. The Giants have Sergio Romo signed for 2014, but he's a free agent in 2015. That's the nucleus: Cain, MadBum, Vogie, Affeldt, Casilla, Romo. Three starters, three late-inning relievers. Total cost in the neighborhood of $48M. Throw in another $7M to give Barry Zito his walking papers and you've got half of a payroll for an upper-echelon team. The Giants have consistently spent in the top third of ML franchises, this year they are seventh at $138M.
Three pending free agents loom large: Javier Lopez, Chad Gaudin, and the biggest of them all, Tim Lincecum. Nothing but good things have happened to the Giants since Lopez has been on the payroll. He's the quintessential LOOGY, something the team values and is willing to pay for ($4.25M this year). Alas, he turns 37 in July. Jesse Orosco pitched until he was 46--anyone willing to bet on Lopez channeling his inner Orosco? Chad Gaudin, surprise story of 2014, started 34 games for the Oakland Athletics in 2007 when he was 24, and 25 games for two teams in 2009. Otherwise he's been a reliever. Will he be the next chapter in the Rags-to-riches tale? Finally, there's nothing to say about The Freak that hasn't been said already. He could be the most interesting potential free agent signing in all of baseball.
What, then, should the Giants do? What say you, my friends? I've said nary a word about Jose Mijares, Jean Machi, Guillermo Moscoso, Mike Kickham, Eric Surkamp, George Kontos, Sandy Rosario, Jake Dunning, Edwin Escobar, Dan Runzler, or any of the other newbies, re-treads, or up-and-comers. I understand there's an entire minor-league system full of barely-known hurlers with the potential to be Giants. Build me a pitching staff, me buckos.