SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — From a franchise-record 107 wins last season to out of contention this September, the San Francisco Giants were far from the dominant club they were when so much went right in 2021.
Manager Gabe Kapler already had concerns in early July, calling out the Giants' energy, effort and how they were supporting each other. San Francisco lacked the big hits and missed the spot-on snazzy defense. The bullpen couldn't consistently hold late leads.
Even Kapler’s frustration grew with the lack of performance. San Francisco finished .500 at 81-81 for third place in the NL West.
“It’s a compounded thing. It’s not one person making the commitment to invest energy into our teammates and into this team," Kapler said. "It’s everybody making that decision. Collectively, you can really change the energy quickly. It’s one of the things that we’ve been talking about in individual conversations, one of the things we feel like we can do to change the direction, and do so quickly.”
Ace Logan Webb went a career-best 15-9 with a 2.90 ERA in 32 starts but was shut down late with a lower back issue and just missed getting in 200 innings.
“Personally I wish I did a little bit better," Webb said. "I had some other goals that I kind of wanted to get to but that’s also part of the reason they think it’s a good idea to shut it down because those goals are important for the coming years also not just this year.”
BACK TO FUNDAMENTALS
This offseason, Kapler wants everyone to focus on what they can do to put a more consistent winning season together in 2023, calling it “a great opportunity to get motivated.”
Everyone expects far more from veterans like shortstop Brandon Crawford and the entire roster.
“... I'm talking about as a group, how can we program well, stay on top and by the sides of the players through this offseason,” Kapler said, "and have the group of athletes that we have right now in our organization coupled with the athletes we end up signing and trading for come into camp in peak physical condition ready to tackle a long season."
The Giants lost Brandon Belt to season-ending right knee surgery on Sept. 3. It wasn't just the production they missed, but also his energy, spirit and leadership as “Captain."
Last season, he had a career-high 29 home runs. This year, the 34-year-old Belt was limited to 78 games, batting .213 with eight homers and 23 RBIs.
“He feels better now than he did pre-surgery. That’s a big deal," Kapler said. "There’s a lot of optimism around Brandon right now.”
Versatile infielder Wilmer Flores opted to sign a new two-year contract rather than test his worth in free agency.
He is the only Giants position player signed beyond 2023. Crawford signed a new two-year contract that takes him through the 2023 season.
The Giants have expressed their interest in extending outfielder Joc Pederson, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said, though Pederson expressed his disappointment with not making the playoffs.
Carlos Rodón has an option in his deal.
“We’d love to see him back,” Zaidi said.
Young closer Camilo Doval hit 104 mph on the radar gun in consecutive late-September outings and dazzled in his first full major league season at age 25. He wound up at 6-6 with a 2.53 ERA and 27 saves over 68 appearances — a huge jump from his 25 total games in 2021.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports