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What’s happened with the relievers the Giants traded?

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August’s Giants bullpen is faltering, but what about July’s?

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been almost three weeks since the trade deadline and the Giants are still doing their will-they-won’t-they thing with contending. Perhaps someday they’ll achieve the rarefied high of being three games over .500, but for now, the team still has a ways to go in the race, just 3.5 games back of the Cubs for the second wild card spot, but with four teams they need to pass to get there.

The Giants also traded several pieces from their bullpen, and now, surprisingly, the bullpen is much less good than it used to be. Now, those two things are perhaps not as connected as you might assume from reading that sentence, but both of them are still true.

This year, the Giants have traded away Derek Holland, Drew Pomeranz, Ray Black, Sam Dyson, and Mark Melancon for various returns. Obviously, none of this is predictive — the sample sizes are too small for that — and the deals were really made to benefit future Giants teams, not just this one. But what this exercise can tell us is, if they performed similarly in San Francisco as they have in not San Francisco, what would the Giants gain this year? So what are they doing in their current bullpens? Let’s take a look:

Derek Holland

Holland, traded to the Cubs for cash on July 26, has had good results there. In 10 games, he’s pitched 8 innings with a 2.25 ERA, and his walk rate is excellent. But FIP isn’t especially impressed by Chicago Holland, because his strikeout rate has plummeted and he’s given up 2 homers in those 8 innings. Throw in a .100 BABIP and Derek Holland is a prime candidate for regression.

Also, he gave up Bryce Harper’s walk-off grand slam, which was not an unimpressive home run:

Drew Pomeranz

Like his fellow lefty-who-signed-with-the-Giants-to-be-a-starter-but-wasn’t-very-good-and-ended-up-in-the-bullpen-and-then-traded-to-the-NL-Central, Pomernaz has had a rough time in his new home. In 7 innings with the Brewers, Pomeranz has a 5.14 ERA. His FIP has actually gone up in Milwaukee even with an improved strikeout rate — 2 homers in 7 innings and a BB/9 over 5 will do that to you. With the Giants, Pomeranz was an excellent reliever; with the Brewers, even with a good first few appearances, he has not been.

Here’s that Bryce Harper home run off Holland again, because boy, was that a tater:

Ray Black

Black has appeared in 4 games from Milwaukee’s AAA affiliate in San Antonio and 2 games in the majors. In AAA, he’s been very good, with 5 strikeouts in 4 innings and an ERA of 0.00. With the major league club, he’s been less good. He’s pitched 2.1 innings for the Brewers and given up 2 runs; he hasn’t struck anyone out yet with that big fastball and he’s given up one walk and one home run.

It’s far too soon to draw any conclusions about Black in the long term, obviously, but in the short term, the Giants have been getting that same kind of performance from half their bullpen, so it’s good to know that in his heart, Ray Black is still a Giant.

Sam Dyson

Dyson — according to Fangraphs, the best reliever traded at the deadline — had a rough start to his time in Minnesota. He gave up three runs in each of his first two games and immediately hit the IL with right biceps tendinitis. He came back 10 days later and that seems to have done the trick; in his last four appearances he’s only given up one run, but boy, was that not an encouraging start to his time with the Twins.

Mark Melancon

With the Braves, Melancon has a 7.35 ERA, which is quite bad. But on the plus side for him (and Atlanta), it’s all because of his BABIP, which is sitting at .458. In 7.1 innings there, Melancon has struck out 10 and walked just one, and all without allowing a homer. He’s had two blowup appearances where he gave up multiple runs, once allowing four runs to the Marlins and once two runs to the Mets, but it’s hard to put that on anything more than bad luck. Of all the relievers the Giants traded, he’d be the one most likely to have helped stabilize the San Francisco bullpen over the last few weeks, although it’s not like Giants relievers are immune from BABIP demons any more than Braves relievers are.

The sample size for all of these guys is small, of course, but at least in the meantime, none of them have both pitched well and gotten good results here in August. The Giants bullpen is beleaguered, and it’s extremely possible that not a single one of the relievers they traded would have debeleaguered things in any way. Sometimes you go through a bad stretch and there are no answers, even in retrospect.

Also, Joe Panik is hitting .333/.379/.444 for the Mets, but that’s something we can discuss later.