The San Francisco Giants may be in the market for some relief pitching heading into the trade deadline, according Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal tweeted yesterday that a number of teams are looking for relief pitchers according to some team executives that are in selling mode.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 21, 2014
For the Giants, who mind you, have one of the best bullpens in all of baseball, it could just be about making the bullpen they have even better, and provide some long relief to struggling starters.
The Giants bullpen has a 2.77 ERA, 4th best in MLB and an MLB leading 1.06 WHIP (walks + hits divided by innings pitched). But despite the numbers, there are some obvious weaknesses right now.
Sergio Romo has struggled so much that he was bumped from the closer role to 8th inning setup man, while Santiago Casilla went back to the closer role. Romo has a 5.26 ERA, by far the worst of his career both in the majors and the minor leagues. Casilla on the other hand has a healthy 0.98 ERA this season.
However, despite Romo’s struggles, my gut says the Giants may be in the market for long inning relief pitching. With Matt Cain struggling and serving his 3rd stint on the disabled list, Yusmeiro Petit is splitting duties between long reliever and spot starter. For the foreseeable future, he’ll be filling in for Cain as there really isn’t any timeline for his return just yet.
George Kontos has recalled from Triple-A yesterday and had a fantastic outing against the Phillies last night when he had to step into a bases-loaded, no-out jam created by Ryan Vogelsong. He pitched well, and having him stay consistent could ease some of the bullpen burden. But with the uncertainty of Cain, the inconsistency of Vogelsong, and the fear that Tim Lincecum might relapse back into Lincecum of the past couple of years, the Giants are probably looking for insurance and enough arms to get them out of a jam if it arises.
Rosenthal did not indicate which team he spoke with but according to MLB Trade Rumors, a number of teams could be sellers, including the Phillies Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon, the Cubs James Russell, and the Marlins Steve Cischek, among others.
I’m not sure whether the Giants should shift their focus to a starting pitcher and leave Petit as an option in the bullpen, given the latest DL stint from Cain. My hunch is that the Giants will see how he pitches tonight as the starter before making a decision.