San Francisco Giants: Closer Options
External Options (i.e. go out and get somebody)
This is still possible. It’s just a bit more difficult, since any trade could only be completed after a potential trade target were to pass through waivers.
Longtime closer Jonathan Papelbon recently became a free agent, after losing his closing job (and presumably wearing out his welcome) in Washington. And word is that he will decide on signing with a new team either today or tomorrow.
Should the Giants consider him?
It’s hardly rare for a player to fall into a funk and then revive his career after changes of scenery. Papelbon could be one such case; the 35-year-old, after all, carries a 2.44 career ERA and has saved 368 games—ninth most all-time.
His velocity is slightly down this year, but he still hurls in the low 90s. His walks are up, but his strikeout rate is still decent, and that accuracy issue is one of those things can be remedied with changing teams and a chance to refocus.
So there’s a good chance Papelbon can still be an effective Major League closer. But that’s not a given, and if it turns out he’s unable to resurrect his career, his ornery personality certainly wouldn’t be worth tolerating. Heck, even if he’s a slight upgrade over Casilla, his presence could result in indirect detriments to the team.
It’s probably best that the Giants not consider. There’s no report saying they are—it’s mostly the Marlins and Cubs that are rumored to be interested. But just in case the Giants are considering him under the radar, it’s probably best to steer away.
Besides Papelbon, there are some decent closers on non-contending teams, such as Philadelphia’s Jeanmar Gomez or White Sox closer David Robertson—to name just a couple.
But in order for the Giants to get their hands on one of them, it would depend on whether they could pass through waivers without anyone claiming them. That’s unlikely, considering that if someone would good enough to close for the Giants, some other team would deem them good enough its bullpen.