The Giants only used one opener in 2020’s abbreviated season, Caleb Baragar’s Sept. 23 start against the Rockies, but Alex Wood wants to ensure increased opener use won’t cost him money.
A traditional incentive attached to starting pitcher contracts is a bonus per number of starts. The language is different in Wood’s deal, which was signed Thursday, as he will get bumps corresponding with games pitched in which he records 10 outs or more.
So if Baragar gets another first inning and is then relieved by Wood, the new Giants lefty would not be hurt by pitching his usual amount, but starting in the second.
Using an opener is “not something that should be held against the pitcher from a financial standpoint,” Farhan Zaidi said Thursday, adding that the idea has been discussed with several starting pitchers this offseason and last.
Wood joins the rotation on a base $3 million, one-year pact that can he can double with a healthy (and productive) season. He would make $125,000 with 12 appearances of 10 outs or more and another $125,000 at 14; $250,000 each for 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24; $500,000 each for 26, 28 and 30.
While Wood came out of the bullpen late last season during Los Angeles’ World Series run, the Giants view him as a starter. Of course, that could change with a pitcher who excelled in relief and has pitched 48 1/3 total regular-season innings the last two seasons due to injuries.
“It’s an easy give for us,” Zaidi said on a Zoom call. “Because our intention is to have these guys start, but it seems like reasonable protection for the player as well.”