When the Giants signed Sergio Romo and Jake Peavy, they had to make 40-man roster moves. They placed Angel Villalona on the curb with a "FREE" sign, then outrighted him to the minors when no one accepted. To make room for Peavy, though, they removed Mike Kickham from the roster, and he was claimed by the Cubs on Tuesday.
To be fair, Kickham is still a project. He's 26. He entered the season with a 10.16 ERA in the majors, and it went up. He had a middling season in Triple-A, with a below-average walk rate and an average strikeout rate, at best.
Still, it's not hard to be at least a little curious about a lefty arm like this:
There was another video I could have embedded -- one with him giving up a 700-foot home run to Zack Greinke -- but this one fits my point better. He had something to offer. The odds of him turning into a nice lefty reliever are much better than the odds of someone like Chris Dominguez turning into a valuable bench piece, for example.
Despite pitching better against lefties throughout his minor-league career and underwhelming as a starter, the Giants never tried him in a lefty specialist role. I'd like to think that's because they didn't want to give up on his potential as a starter, but considering they were willing to lose him for nothing this offseason, it's probably just because of a scouty thing they'll never reveal. Or maybe they're just weird.
As is, I'll just pretend that Kickham was included in the original Jake Peavy trade -- the one that helped the Giants win the World Series -- and everything will make more sense. The Giants lost the pitcher with the second-highest career ERA in history (min. 30 innings), but it's kind of telling that he only got past four teams before he was claimed.
I'm not upset that the Giants lost Kickham, really. More bummed that I totally have to start over with the Evan Longoria mock trade I was working on.