Ross Stripling is officially opting in with the Giants, the veteran pitcher told KNBR.com.
Stripling, 33, will earn $12.5 million in 2024 — the second year of the two-year, $25 million deal he signed last winter.
The Giants acquired Stripling hoping he could replicate his 2022 season, when he posted a 3.01 ERA as a starter for the Blue Jays. In the vaunted American League East, he struck out 111 batters in 134.1 innings.
But in San Francisco, Stripling got off to a tough start and lost his spot in the starting rotation. He ended up registering a 5.36 ERA in 22 appearances, half of which he started. He threw 89 innings in his eighth MLB season, his lowest total in a full season since 2017.
Given Stripling’s performance last year, opting in isn’t a surprise. Stripling publicly indicated his intention to return to the Giants in September, saying he “hasn’t pitched well enough to opt out.”
“I think if I could have gotten healthy and had a good September, it might have been in the realm,” Stripling said on Sept. 13. “But really in my head now, I’m a 2024 Giant and ready to work with these guys over the offseason to figure some stuff out and get better. I’ll show up to Spring Training ready to rock and be a Giant.”
A back injury in May sidelined Stripling for six weeks, then another minor flare-up put him on the injured list for a month later in the season. In the second instance, Stripling was under the impression that he’d only require the minimum, but the Giants kept him on the IL even after he was healthy enough to pitch. He described that situation as being on the “phantom IL.”
“Obviously, I want to pitch,” Stripling said then. “I feel like I can help the team win. I’ve thrown a lot of September innings for playoff teams and teams that have competed for the playoffs. So I know what it takes to get outs this time of year. But it’s not my job to configure a roster. It’s tough to sit on the sidelines when you feel like you’re ready and able to help. I’ll be ready when they need. You’ve got to think a situation will arise, but who knows?”
The Giants’ starting rotation for next season has depth, but lacks top-end talent to pair with staff ace Logan Webb. If Sean Manaea — who signed an identical contract as Stripling — opts out, San Francisco will have Webb, Stripling, Kyle Harrison, Tristan Beck, Keaton Winn and Anthony DeSclafani.
The deadline for teams and players to decide on contract options is Monday, Nov. 6.