The Giants had a lot of work to do in the rotation this offseason, and they stretched it out as far as they could.
They started the downtime by bringing back Kevin Gausman with a qualifying offer and are reportedly finishing it Tuesday by bringing in former All-Star Aaron Sanchez, the eve of the first pitchers and catchers workout in Scottsdale. The deal, pending a physical, is for one year and worth a base $4 million with incentives that could bring it to $6.5 million, the Chronicle reported.
In between these moves, they added Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood, both high risk and high reward, and will bring back Johnny Cueto to round out the rotation. If everyone stays healthy through camp, Sanchez could bump Logan Webb from the group at least to start the season, or the Giants could stretch into a six-man rotation.
The 28-year-old Sanchez is a former first-round pick who was a 2016 All-Star, when he went 15-2 with an AL-best 3.00 ERA with Toronto. Blister and finger issues limited him to 36 innings in 2017, and he hasn’t approached his ’16 peak since.
Sanchez struggled to a 4.89 ERA in 2018 and had a rough ’19 before getting traded to Houston, with whom he suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery and wiped out his 2020, too.
He recently threw at a showcase and apparently impressed the Giants enough for a major league pact. The Barstow native becomes an intriguing addition with high upside; his fastball averaged 97.1 mph in 2014 and he throws a curveball and changeup less frequently (though those usage rates will probably tick up with San Francisco’s pitching minds).
As recently as Friday, Gabe Kapler said Webb was “in the driver’s seat right now” for the No. 5 rotation spot. Unless the Giants plan to expand the seat, Webb is climbing to the back.
Of course, any pitcher who can chew up innings will be invaluable after a shortened season that saw every pitcher’s workload dramatically decreased. No club knows how much it can rely upon its rotation, and thus the Giants have wanted as many options as possible.