The San Francisco Giants made a bullpen move on Tuesday morning, agreeing to a one-year contract with right-handed reliever Matt Wisler.
Free-agent right-hander Matt Wisler in agreement with Giants on one-year, $1.15M contract, pending a physical, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 8, 2020
Wisler is coming off of a sensational 2020 with the Minnesota Twins, but was still non-tendered at last week’s deadline. That made him a free agent, and the Giants picked him up during the Winter Meetings.
The 28 year old had a 1.07 ERA in the pandemic-shortened season, though that mark certainly oversells him, since he had a wholly unsustainable 99.3% left on base rate. But even so, his FIP was 3.35, his WHIP was 1.145, and he had 35 strikeouts to 14 walks in 25.1 innings, so he was definitely good. A repeat of that performance would be a very welcome sight to a Giants bullpen that finished 22nd in FIP and 25th in Wins Above Replacement last season.
That said, Wisler’s performance does look a little bit like an outlier. Prior to 2020, his five-year career had produced an ERA of 5.20 and an FIP of 4.80.
But there’s also reason for optimism: Wisler’s great year came in his first season with the Twins, and the Giants just hired J.P. Martinez as their assistant pitching coach. Martinez spent last year as the Twins’ pitching coordinator, so perhaps there’s some intel there.
Either way, it’s a low-risk signing that could really help the bullpen. We know it’s unlikely that Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris are going to spend big bucks on a reliever, so these are the types of moves they’ll be relying on to try and fix the relief situation.