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Giants want a lefty, but who’s available?

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The options aren’t particularly inspiring.

World Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Six Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants are mostly done for the offseason, unless they’re not. It’s probably the latter, but don’t get your hopes up that something wild and crazy is going to happen. This is the 2021 Giants were talking about.

Still, it seems San Francisco is targeting a left-handed starting pitcher, since their current options — Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, Anthony DeSclafani, Logan Webb, and eventually Tyler Beede — are all right-handed.

The Giants don’t really need a lefty, because mixing handedness isn’t actually an advantage. But they’re still looking in that direction.

So, to summarize, here’s what we know:

  1. Giants
  2. Pitchers
  3. Left-handed

Let’s see what the options are.

The “it doesn’t get more Giant” options

Cole Hamels (37 years old)
2020 stats: 8.10 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 2 K to 1 BB in 3.1 IP
2019 stats: 3.81 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 143 K to 56 BB in 141.2 IP

J.A. Happ (38 years old)
2020 stats: 3.47 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 42 K to 15 BB in 49.1 IP
2019 stats: 4.91 ERA, 5.22 FIP, 140 K to 49 BB in 161.1 IP

Jon Lester (37 years old)
2020 stats: 5.16 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 42 K to 17 BB in 61 IP
2019 stats: 4.46 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 165 K to 52 BB in 171.2 IP

So we have to start with these players, because ... yeah, it doesn’t get any more Giant. Late 30s starters who used to be good and no longer are? Say less.

That said, the Giants could do worse (more on that in a moment). You could make the case for potential in the arm of any of these former All-Stars, and we know the Giants coaching staff can do well with reclamation projects. Plus, they’re big names, which means if they have a good month or two with the Giants, the trade value becomes pretty decent.

The “OK, sure, that works, whatever” options

Gio González (35 years old)
2020 stats: 4.83 ERA, 5.50 FIP, 34 K to 19 BB in 31.2 IP
2019 stats: 3.50 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 78 K to 37 BB in 87.1 IP

Rich Hill (40 years old)
2020 stats: 3.03 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 31 K to 17 BB in 38.2 IP
2019 stats: 2.45 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 72 K to 18 BB in 58.2 IP

Carlos Rodón (28 years old)
2020 stats: 8.22 ERA, 4.89 FIP, 6 K to 3 BB in 7.2 IP
2019 stats: 5.19 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 46 K to 17 BB in 34.2 IP

These are not particularly exciting options, but you can see the vision. González has been highly mediocre lately, but his history of being good is much more recent than the players in the last category. Hill is pretty good, but will be 41 when the year starts. Rodón is still young, with a lot of potential in his arm, but has never looked particularly close to putting it together.

None of these three would make you think the Giants are really making moves. But you would be intrigued every fifth day, at least for a few weeks.

The “Oh ... this is totally happening, huh” options

Tyler Anderson (31 years old)
2020 stats: 4.37 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 41 K to 25 BB in 59.2 IP
2019 stats: 11.76 ERA, 7.62 FIP, 23 K to 11 BB in 20.2 IP

Tommy Milone (33 years old)
2020 stats: 6.69 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 40 K to 6 BB in 39 IP
2019 stats: 4.76 ERA, 5.00 FIP, 94 K to 23 BB in 111.2 IP

Martín Pérez (29 years old)
2020 stats: 4.50 ERA, 4.88 FIP, 26 K to 28 BB in 62 IP
2019 stats: 5.12 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 135 K to 67 BB in 165.1 IP

Now we’re speaking the Giants language. Not good players, who have had many years to prove they’re not good, but are just good enough to kind of hang around and keep getting MLB deals on the premise that maybe they’ll figure it out? Oh yeah, that’s the sweet spot.

The name here that is absolutely going to sign with the Giants is Anderson, because nothing would wrap up the offseason quite like the Giants rounding out the rotation with a player they non-tendered a few months ago.

“Nope, we can do better ... wait, no, not worth the money,” is painfully predictable.

The “do it for the content” option

Matt Moore (31 years old)
2020 stats: Did not play in MLB. In Japan: 2.65 ERA, 98 K to 26 BB in 85 IP
2019 stats: 0.00 ERA, 1.71 FIP, 9 K to 1 BB in 10 IP

If the Giants have any sense of how to properly troll, they would bring Moore back into the fold. Funnily enough, it probably wouldn’t be the worst move. This regime and coaching staff has proved more capable of tapping into pitching potential than the last one, and Moore is still a talented player who is only 31, and is missing a lot of bats.

The “I have absolutely no feelings about this whatsoever” option

Brett Anderson (32 years old)
2020: 4.21 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 32 K to 10 BB in 47 IP
2019: 3.89 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 90 K to 49 BB in 176 IP

I have no feelings about Brett Anderson. He’s one of the most uninteresting pitchers I have ever watched, as evidenced by his hilariously low strikeout rate. He’s also a totally competent pitcher who can be reliably mediocre at the back of a rotation, and probably field a C+ prospect at the trade deadline.

That’s depressing! But not as depressing as some of the names in this article.

The “whoa, wait, you’re actually making moves? Cool!” options

James Paxton (32 years old)
2020 stats: 6.64 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 26 K to 17 BB in 20.1 IP
2019 stats: 3.82 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 186 K to 55 BB in 150.2 IP

José Quintana (31 years old)
2020 stats: 4.50 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 12 K to 3 BB in 10 IP
2019 stats: 4.68 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 152 K to 46 BB in 171 IP

Alex Wood (30 years old)
2020 stats: 6.39 ERA, 5.01 FIP, 15 K to 6 BB in 12.2 IP
2019 stats: 5.80 ERA, 6.38 FIP, 30 K to 9 BB in 35.2 IP

The Giants almost surely won’t sign these players, so move on with your life. But it sure would be cool if they did. They won’t cost a lot, especially Wood, who was really good prior to suffering injuries in each of the last two years.

All three of these players would help the Giants quite a bit, but given the Giants current situation, it doesn’t seem like any would help them in the exact way the Giants are hoping for.

So Tyler Anderson and Jon Lester, come on down.