The Giants have added their lefteenth left-handed reliever to the roster ahead of this important four-game series in Arizona, selecting Fernando Abad for the 40-man roster. They also called up Dereck Rodriguez to start tonight’s game.
ROSTER MOVES:— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 15, 2019
• LHP Williams Jerez optioned to AAA Sacramento.
• Dereck Rodriguez recalled from AAA Sacramento.
• LHP Fernando Abad selected to Major League roster.
• Aramis Garcia optioned to AAA Sacramento.
• RHP Kyle Barraclough designated for assignment.#SFGiants
Kyle Barraclough, whom the Giants claimed just six days ago after Washington designated for assignment, gave up five earned runs on three hits and two walks in his first — and, so far, only — relief appearances for Triple-A Sacramento this week.
It’s possible the Giants made this decision based on what they saw, but just as likely and perhaps more so, they wanted to add another solid lefty to the bullpen without losing Travis Bergen. Remember: as he’s a Rule 5 pick, they need to keep him on the 25-man major league roster for the entire season before they gain the ability to option him to the minors without his rights reverting back to his former team (Toronto).
Jerez has walked six in 6.2 innings and has a 6.67 FIP and Sam Selman isn’t eligible for a recall until after this series, so the Giants opted to see what they had in Abad.
Barraclough’s right-handedness added to his expendability. They had already claimed Burch Smith earlier this week and up and down the organization you can find talented right-handed bullpen arms. If he clears waivers, they can outright him in Triple-A for depth.
I find the Abad move a little surprising because while August trade waivers are gone, trades are still possible so long as they don’t involve players on major league deals. The Giants could’ve traded Abad to a contending team looking for left-handed relief help and then that team could’ve added him to their 40-man in time for the stretch run. Now that’s what the Giants are doing.
Abad hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2017 with the Red Sox. That season, he posted a 3.30 ERA/3.68 FIP in 43.2 innings (48 games) and held left-handed batters to .227/.288/.348. Statcast shows him as a four-pitch guy: a four-seamer, curve, sinker, and changeup, which he all throws roughly equal.
He had an uptick in fastball velocity in 2017 versus ‘16 and ‘15, averaging 92.1 mph. His curveball spins just about league average. Overall, he doesn’t feature anything special. In 38 games with Sacramento this year, he has a 3.07 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 44 innings.
But he’s been tough on lefties his whole career. That 2017 line against them while with Boston wasn’t some fluke. In 573 career plate appearances against Fernando Abad, left-handed batters have hit .237/.287/.383 (.671).
This batch of transactions means the Giants will carry 13 pitchers this weekend, giving Bruce Bochy some matchup flexibility but narrowing his options when it comes to pinch hit opportunities and in-game injury situations. Aramis Garcia wasn’t ever going to play third base — but maybe? Who would be the backup third baseman at this point?