It’s still early in the season, but it’s good to know the Giants can make perplexing, almost infuriating decisions.
ROSTER MOVES:— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 22, 2018
• Jose Valdez placed on the 10-day DL with right elbow inflammation (retroactive to May 19).
• Josh Osich has been recalled from AAA Sacramento.#SFGiants
Josh Osich has pitched four scoreless innings since being demoted to Triple-A and the Giants have determined that limited sampling to be indicative of the return to form that they saw in him during Spring Training. You’ll recall that it was this sharp Spring Training and strong first outing of the season which prompted articles like this:
... with lines like this:
It took a remarkable spring and a paucity of better options in the Giants organization for Osich to get this perhaps last shot and to see him come through on a big stage with the team inching towards desperation is the stuff baseball seasons are made of, so why not take this moment to appreciate that it happened?
But maybe you also remember his subsequent pitching appearances and how they were so tremendously awful that they compelled our esteemed Kenny Kelly to step away from his Series Preview and Post-Game Recap duties to ask, “Will we ever see Josh Osich again?”, a post that included this line:
... Barring an injury, the Giants won’t need to dip into Sacramento’s lefty reliever bin anytime soon, and if they do, Snelten has likely surpassed Osich.
It seems not improbable that Osich has played his final game for the Giants. I’m not sure what series of events would have to transpire for him to be back in San Francisco, though I certainly don’t doubt the Giants’ ability to let said events transpire. For all I know he’ll be back next week, trying to get that FIP under 6.00.
But at this point, we’re three years in to him being a really bad pitcher, and the options around him have grown while he has, unfortunately, wilted. And that may be the last we see of him.
Congratulations to Kenny for having his first Oh Man, Were You Completely Wrong moment on this site, all thanks to the Giants opting to punt on the question of “Which outfielder should we bring up in order to improve our chances of winning?”
Why have the Giants opted to go with a third left-handed reliever instead of Austin Slater? Well, that’s an easy answer: because they want a 13th pitcher on the roster instead of Mac Williamson. And D.J. Snelten has been bad since being sent down, so Osich is the better answer than Steven Duggar, who would still need to have a 40-man spot cleared for him.
What about Hunter Pence? I think he’s the complication in all this. Maybe the Giants don’t buy his new batting stance but at the same time they don’t want to show him up/make him feel bad by calling up another outfielder over him when they’re in his home state for a return series to his first organization. Emotionally, it all makes sense.
The Giants would rather lose than make Hunter Pence feel bad.
The Giants would rather lose than risk losing a fungible pitcher on their taxi squad. Taxi is a synonym of fungible. Osich is a synonym of not good.
The Giants would rather lose by having 3 left-handed relievers than by having 3 fourth outfielders. They will not need 13 pitchers for these two games because of the DH. They would still have Josh Osich there for when the game’s 8-4 because why not lose 13-4?
Josh Osich has let the Giants down every time they’ve counted on him, but the Giants have deemed that preferable to letting down Hunter Pence or letting down Austin Jackson, Gorkys Hernandez, and Gregor Blanco. Bruce Bochy wants the comfort of a 13th warm body who can’t get outs consistently over the possibility of scoring more runs. The opponent can sit through long innings, too! Alas!
Whatever thinking went on behind the scenes to motivate today’s decision — and, it should be noted, that Jose Valdez was placed on the DL with elbow inflammation, which is really tough for the player, because Valdez has been working hard to hold on to a major league job over several seasons, so, hopefully, this isn’t the worst case scenario for him — did not substantially factor in winning baseball games.
If you’ve added Josh Osich to be your 13th pitcher, then you don’t have 13 pitchers, but you get to pretend that you have a full 25-man roster.