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Giants sign Ross Stripling to 2-year deal

The deal is for $25 million with an opt-out after year one, per Jeff Passan. Hey, wait a minute. Didn’t the Giants just...?

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Pictured: Ross Stripling’s last clubhouse celebration for the foreseeable future.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Look... in theory... if the San Francisco Giants were still somehow in on Carlos Rodón, acquiring Ross Stripling after signing Sean Manaea would make it easier for them to trade Alex Cobb, who has an option year next season and would be an extremely desirable trade chip in the current player acquisition climate. (#cope)

Just wanted to get that out of the way before the real news: the Giants solidified their present pitching situation by signing Ross Stripling to the same exact deal they just gave Sean Manaea: two years, at $12.5 million per, totaling $25 million, with an opt out after year one. We can safely assume this contract is now a template in the Giants’ internal PDF setup.


A bit more detail on the deal, per the Chronicle’s John Shea:

Ross Stripling two/25 million: 7.5 million in 2023, 12.5 million in 2024, 5 million signing bonus.

I’m going to reach into my foggy brain and pull out this stray recollection about signing bonuses: they’re supplemental paid to the player immediately meaning 1) Stripling would be paying a flat 22% on it rather than whatever his marginal income tax rate will be and 2) it will count towards tax year 2022 and not 2023. I’m not sure how it all works out, but it probably nets him a little more after taxes and expenses. It also structures the Giants’ payroll a bit more favorably to a massive AAV deal. Theoretically. The AAV of the deal ($12.5 million) would still count towards the CBT’s calculation as $12.5 million, but not real dollars, which matters to the Giants a bit more in terms of profit margin.


The former Dodger prospect already has a small place in Giants history, going all the way back to April 2016. He had a no-hitter into the 8th inning when he was pulled form the game. Dave Roberts did this to protect the rookie (who was coming back from surgery), but it felt like the move backfired spectacularly when, after 7.1 IP, 100 pitches and a walk to Angel Pagan Chris Hatcher came in and gave up a 2-run home run to Trevor Brown to tie the game...

... and the Giants would go on to walk it off in the bottom of the 10th thanks to Brandon Crawford:

Last month, I labeled Stripling my dark horse candidate in an article speculating as to which direction the Giants might go with their rotation. It seemed certain at the time that they were going to add an arm, but now with Manaea and Stripling in there, it seems a lot more like the Giants are planning around not having Carlos Rodón next season. Now, that’s not 100% — Alex Cobb, Alex Wood, and Anthony DeSclafani are not players any right-thinking organization could absolutely count on to pitch 150 innings — but with Kyle Harrison also expected to debut early this season, the odds are long.

I would say that the Stripling part of my writeup was a bit off the mark:

The Dodgers connection would be too tempting for Farhan Zaidi to pass up, I’d imagine. Seems like he’d get at least a look by the front office. The issue would seem to be that there’d be a lot of competition for his services [...] other teams have needs that they can only afford to fill by looking in earnest where the Giants trawl to save a buck or other teams are driven by the same internal modeling and decision-making.

Turns out that teams didn’t have a need so bad that they were willing to quadruple his salary. He made just $3.7 million last season, so this represents a big raise for the 33 year old coming off a career year: 10-4, 134.1 IP, 3.01 ERA, 3.11 FIP, 3.1 fWAR — literally all career bests. That’s pitching in the AL East and being a bit of a swingman (24 starts in 32 games). The results are there, the Dodgers connection to Zaidi is there, and the walk rate (just 3.7%!) is there.

In last month’s writeup, I did note that — at a glance — there’s not a whole lot of separation between Stripling and Jakob Junis when it comes to Statcast. And from a strictly stuff perspective (fastball velocity, slider spin), Junis actually came out ahead in last year’s Statcast measurements. But Stripling’s effectiveness is hard to match. With the right sequencing, his command will make him basically the best version of Jakob Junis, right down to the swingman capability.

It’s hard not to like this move. It only requires that you ignore the Rodón in the room. Which is tough to do! Anyway, with this deal, the Giants’ 2023 Opening Day payroll is now projected to be greater than last year’s, which means the Giants were true to their word and they spent to get the players they wanted.