The SF Giants bullpen has been a glaring weak spot for the team. The bullpen’s ERA as a whole is 3.88, and have converted 26 of 45 saves. Javier Lopez, who has been one of the most reliable relievers in baseball over the past 6 years, has a 4.60 ERA having allowed 8 runs in 15.1 IP.
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Santiago Casilla has had by far his best strikeout per 9 innings in his career, and while Josh Osich has shown promise in his stuff, his ERA is 3.95. As of now, the, “core four,” which has been key in the 3 championships, seems to be all but done.
Hunter Strickland has been the best reliever on the team, sporting a 128 ERA+ and an 8 K/9. Surprisingly, that hasn’t been enough. So, they either have to reach into the minors for a bullpen arm, which they haven’t had a lot of success with (see Steven Okert and Chris Stratton), or they will have to make a trade.
The two big bullpen names that have been out there are Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller of the Yankees, arguably the bet relievers in baseball. The Giants have been named with those two names, but it seem unlikely that a deal gets done, considering their history. Not only that, but you’d have to think that Tyler Beede, Phil Bickford, or Christian Arroyo would have to be part of the deal, and the Giants probably aren’t too keen on losing on of their top three prospects.
Earlier today, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN had this to say:
Jeanmar Gomez is a 28-year-old right-hander who is finally breaking out in his seventh year. He has a 146 ERA+, and ranks 5th in the NL in saves, with 25. David Hernandez, 31, is also in his seventh year in the league, however he has been below average this season, sporting a 93 ERA+, and has just a 100 ERA+ for his career. Gomez seems to be the safer option, as he is younger, and isn’t a free agent until 2018. There hasn’t been anything said about what the Phillies may ask for in return, so it’s hard to speculate on a deal at this point. However, both of them are right-handers, which would be adding to an already righty-heavy pen.
Crasnick also said this:
Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith are both better options than Gomez or Hernandez. Jeffress, 28, has been very effective during his third season in the Majors. He had a 2.65 ERA in 72 appearances last year with the Brewers, and is having an even better year in 2016. In 41 outings, he has 23 saves and a very good 185 ERA+, and has struck out 28 while walking only three. Though he is a right-handed pitcher, he is under control until 2020, which makes acquiring him quite enticing. Will Smith, who also won’t become a free agent until 2020, has posted a 2.12 ERA and 203 ERA+, with just 15 K’s in 20 appearances. His season started late due to an injury. Last year, he was very good in the strikeout department, with a 12.9 K/9. Oh, and he is a lefty.
Although both of the Brewers options are superior to those of the Phillies, the Giants might have to pay a hefty price, Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle says:
After entering the season ranked as the Giants’ ninth-best prospect Baseball America, Adalberto Mejia moved up to fifth in Baseball America’s midseason prospect rankings (91st overall in MLB). He has been impressive this year, striking out 88 batters in 94.2 IP with a 2.57 ERA between stints in Double-A and Triple-A. It’s tough to think about giving Mejia up for a reliever, but the Giants can use the help. Smith and Jeffress aren’t just rentals, but Mejia could be a big part of the rotation in the future. It all depends on how the Giants value Smith and Jeffress.
Of course, the dream scenario is acquiring Miller or Chapman. The Giants might be hard pressed to give up one of the big three prospects, but it might not even matter if teams with better systems— like the Cubs or Nationals—could bring better offers to the table. As we know, though, the trade deadline is always an unpredictable time, so we will have to wait to see what it brings us.