The San Francisco Giants just delivered one of their more unexpected moves of the offseason, signing left-handed reliever Jake McGee to a two-year deal, reportedly worth $7 million.
Sources: Jake McGee in agreement with the San Francisco Giants, pending physical.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 9, 2021
A left-handed piece for the bullpen probably wasn’t the move that most Giants fans were anticipating, but McGee can greatly shore up the bullpen. The 34 year old was fantastic in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, posting a 2.66 ERA and 1.67 FIP, with 33 strikeouts to just 3 walks in 20.1 innings. That’s the kind of ratio that makes me think I should have seen this move coming, given what the Giants value.
McGee becomes the first pitcher since Farhan Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations to sign a multi-year deal with San Francisco. He’ll presumably replace Tony Watson, who is a free agent and now seems quite unlikely to return.
The Giants have no shortage of lefties in the bullpen, as McGee joins Caleb Baragar, Jarlin García, Wandy Peralta, and Sam Selman. However, McGee’s handedness doesn’t matter much, since he’s actually been more effective against right-handed hitters in his career. In his 11 years, righties have a .659 OPS against him, whereas lefties have a .699 OPS.
That figure was exacerbated in an admittedly small sample size in 2020, when righties had a .436 OPS against the .855 figure from lefties.
Splits aside, the important thing here is that McGee is a very good reliever, and the Giants bullpen was awful a year ago, finishing 22nd in FIP and 25th in fWAR.
They got better, and that’s exciting.