If the San Francisco Giants decide to bring in a veteran starting pitcher, we look at who would make sense to bring in as a free agent.
The Giants could certainly stand pat with what they have in the rotation, but there is a case to be made for adding a starting pitcher.
That could especially be true if they decide to move someone like Jeff Samardzija. If they’re able unload that contract and replace him with someone similar on the free agent market for cheaper, that would be perfect.
But even so, it would be smart to add some added depth to the rotation.
I don’t think the Giants will go after any of the top free agent starting pitchers. If they do, that would certainly be a shock to most.
Instead, I think they try to sign a veteran starting pitcher, or someone looking for a bounce-back season, for less than $10 million annually and no more than two years.
Vargas is a 12 year major league veteran with a career 4.17 ERA in over 1,400 innings pitched with 939 strikeouts.
This past season he pitched for the Kansas City Royals and had a 4.16 ERA in 32 starts and 179.2 innings pitched with 134 strikeouts.
That may not seem like much, but that would have been the second best ERA among Giants starters last year with at least 100 innings pitched.
He’ll play next year at age 35 and will likely get a two year deal this offseason at just under $10 million a year. That’s not an outrageous deal for someone who has been a reliable, consistent pitcher for years.
Tillman is a bit more unreliable as he’s been very inconsistent the past three years.
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After back-to-back very productive seasons in 2013 and 2014, and he hasn’t been very productive the past three years.
Still, he’ll play next year at 30 and has less mileage on him than Vargas.
In 1,118.1 career innings, Tillman has posted a 4.43 ERA with 834 strikeouts.
He was terrible in 2017 with a 7.84 ERA in 93 innings pitched, but he’s been a very good pitcher in the past.
Signing someone like Tillman would be on the hope he returns to his 2013-14 form.
The good thing is you could probably sign Tillman to a one year deal with an option at under $10 million a year. If he bounces back you have a really good pitcher in your rotation for pretty cheap, and if not, you let him go after the season.
With all of the needs in the lineup, the Giants probably won’t look to spend too much on a pitcher. But if they do, these are two guys they should target.