The Giants were apparently interested enough in former Cardinals reliever Seung-hwan Oh to make him an offer, according to Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. This would have been a lower-risk, higher-upside move for the Giants, assuming that Oh would have taken a deal that allowed them to stay under the luxury tax threshold. That kind of deal didn’t interest him, apparently, as he signed a one-year deal with the Rangers. Hey, it was worth a try.
But the Giants are looking for another reliever, it seems. Let’s examine the options and whether or not it’s a good idea.
Before I sat down to write this, I had spent a lot of time with the free agent relievers still out there, and I was convinced that Sergio Romo was the best fit for the Giants, even without the nostalgia. Alas, he re-signed with the Rays, who are cosmically connected to the Giants through 1993 wavelengths that we can’t comprehend.
Still, there are options. Murray suggests Huston Street, who seems like he’s at a crossroads of “old reliever gets healthy and melts the league” and “dude just lost it one day.” The best- and worst-case scenarios would not surprise me next year, which means he’s probably worth poking a stick at, at least. If he will accept a threshold-favorable deal (read: owner-favorable deal), Street would make sense.
There are other possibilities! Tyler Clippard has a changeup of the gods, but he’s been erratic as all heck for the last couple of years, and there’s no reason why that has to be fixed. Tony Watson would make the Giants much better, but there’s no way he signs for whatever they’re willing to offer. Joe Blanton comes with free memories.
But he might not be good anymore? Which could be a problem.
Francisco Liriano comes with CLOSURE, SWEET, SWEET CLOSURE. Hey, Jason Grilli does, too. Koji Uehara is old, but maybe still good, and Bud Norris still throws hard.
And, really, we’re probably overlooking the most important news.
Do not give up on your Dreams!!! Come back 2k18 pic.twitter.com/2DPuertCW7— Jonathan Sanchez (@jonathan_57) February 6, 2018
Mmm-hmm. This all checks out.
Here’s the thing, though. When it comes to the Giants having $1 million or $2 million to spend in February, they’re going to need to take a flier. They’ll need to offer a minor-league deal to someone, or else they’ll have to offer a low-cost deal to a pitcher who used to be much better and stick with him for longer than is wise. Huston Street probably isn’t settling for a non-guarantee deal. Someone will guarantee that.
And if the Giants are going to mess around with a high-risk, high-upside kind of reliever, I have a few suggestions to make:
- Reyes Moronta
- Roberto Gomez
- Joan Gregorio
- Julian Fernandez
- Pierce Johnson
- D.J. Snelten
- Josh Osich
- Steven Okert
All of those guys are on the 40-man roster already. They’re on the 40-man roster for a reason. They’re all going to make the major-league minimum. They all throw a million miles per hour, with the exception of Snelten and Gregorio, and they all miss bats. Out of this group, there should be at least one dude who impresses the Giants in Scottsdale. Just one.
And considering that they would be fighting for a spot that’s tentatively held by Derek Law and Ty Blach, there doesn’t have to be that one spring breakthrough.
For a pitcher like Oh, who was a revelation in 2016 and has the coolest nickname in sports? I’m okay chasing that upside at the expense of the youngsters.
For Street? Maaaaaaybe, but I don’t know. That seems like a stretch.
For Joaquin Benoit or Joe Blanton? Get the heck out of here. I’ll go with Roberto Gomez or Julian Fernandez, thank you.
But the Giants are still looking for a reliever, apparently, so we’ll stay alert. It’s just hard to see how they find a good fit that’s on a guaranteed deal. A minor-league deal, like Derek Holland’s? Sure, pile on the raffle tickets. The more you have, the better the odds. Anything that comes at $2 million or cheaper, though, seems like a weird mix of risk and reward that won’t necessarily improve on whatever the Giants already have on hand.
If the Giants are really looking for a competition, they have one. If they’re looking to avoid competition, they’re running out of options. Oh would have been the best of a thin talent pool. I’m not sure if there’s anyone else who would be an obvious upgrade and allow the owners to avoid paying the luxury tax. That would seem to make the decision a little easier.