Spring Training may be well under way, but the San Francisco Giants are not done making moves. According to a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Giants are signing intriguing right-handed pitcher Shun Yamaguchi.
I’m told that the Giants and Japanese RH Shun Yamaguchi are in agreement on a deal - a split major-league/minor league contract seems most likely.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 20, 2021
It’s a split contract for Yamaguchi, meaning the Giants will pay him a different salary based on whether he’s in the Major Leagues or the Minor Leagues. He’ll be decently compensated either way, as he was just waived by the Toronto Blue Jays ahead of the second year of his two-year, $6.35 million deal, and will be paid that money.
Yamaguchi, who is 33, made his MLB debut last season after a 14-year career in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. Things didn’t go particularly well for him in Toronto (or, more accurately, in Buffalo), as he had an 8.06 ERA, a 6.42 FIP, and 26 strikeouts to 17 walks in 25.2 innings.
But the Giants clearly saw something in there that they liked, and are striking on the opportunity to acquire a player essentially for free. It seems likely that Yamaguchi will begin the year in AAA and, if he plays well, will earn a call up. However, there are some openings in the bullpen right now — albeit with a crowded field fighting for them — so if he can impress in Spring Training, maybe he could make the Opening Day roster.
Per Slusser, the addition of Yamaguchi, mixed with the addition of starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez — which hasn’t yet been made official — will put the Giants at 72 names for Spring Training. Teams are allowed to have 75 players at Spring Training.