The season has started, but the minor-league free agent season never stopped. The Giants went into the offseason wanting to build their bullpen and outfield depth. And here they are in April, still building their bullpen and outfield depth. According to Baseball America, the Giants have signed veteran right-handed reliever Ryan Webb, and according to Andrew Baggarly, they’re close to signing veteran outfielder Drew Stubbs.
Webb is a 31-year-old with eight years and 393 innings of major league experience. He is also the safest, lowest-ceiling, least-risky pitcher you can possibly imagine, with solid command and a sinker that doesn’t miss bats. His career ERA is 3.43, and that’s perfect. He’s the 3.43 ERA of relievers. Not bad, not bad at all, but you don’t want a bullpen full of them.
Last year, Webb, struggled through 18 outings with the Rays before missing most of the season with a pectoral injury, but before that, he was coming off a seven-year stretch of being pretty-okay-sure for each of his teams. There’s a decent chance you’ll see Webb before the year is up, because pretty-okay-sure can be a refreshing thing for a struggling bullpen. Not like I have to tell you that.
Stubbs is 32 years old, and he’s also an eight-year veteran of the majors. He’s played for five different teams in the last two seasons, including three just last year, which tells you that a) he has enough tools to keep getting phone calls, but b) he isn’t good enough to stick. He’s a career .244/.314/.394 hitter (89 OPS+) and a known strikeout artist.
However, Stubbs can play center field, and most importantly, he can really hit left-handed pitchers. He’s probably not going to steal 40 bases again (2011) or hit double-digit homers again (every season from 2010 through 2014), but he’s a career .272/.348/.444 hitter against lefties for his career. He’s probably a better option against left-handers than anyone currently on the Giants’ bench.
Alas, man cannot feast on left-handers alone, and his struggles against right-handers are so pronounced that it’s hard to justify him on a roster over Justin Ruggiano, much less Gorkys Hernandez.
Still, depth is depth, and if the Giants were going to mess around with a veteran, they picked a good profile with stubbs. Hits lefties. Plays center. Sounds great, put him in the emergency kit.
Not that there’s anything that can go wrong.
No tests scheduled yet for Denard Span. Said he woke up Monday and the hip didn't feel right. Different than pain before his labrum surgery.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) April 5, 2017
There’s nothing that could go wrong at all, really.