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How the San Francisco Giants Find the Next Derek Holland

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Derek Holland #45 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Derek Holland #45 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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San Francisco Giants
BALTIMORE, MD – MAY 10: Starting pitcher Chris Tillman #30 of the Baltimore Orioles throws to a Kansas City Royals batter in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 10, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Now we’ve come to the real bargain basement: Goodwill, Salvation Army, random old car-dealership-looking building with a sign that just says “THRIFT” off the side of the highway situations.  The type of store that welcomes all donations from anyone. The store that offers you a receipt so you can write it off as a donation on your taxes. But you say, “No thanks.” Then tax time rolls around and you’re like, “Dang it!”

These are the types of stores you spend hours sifting through every rack looking for something that maybe was great and got discarded by mistake. Or maybe you find something you feel you can salvage and make cool again. Maybe you found another pair of jeans. They’re a little beat up, but the wash is cool and they fit pretty nicely. Maybe they can be repurposed. Maybe you’ve just found a new pair of jorts! Maybe your jorts are Chris Tillman.

Chris Tillman is former All-Star starter recently granted free agency by the Baltimore Orioles. Chris Tillman seemed to be destined to be a great middle of the rotation arm that threw heavy sinkers and could give a team quality innings. In fact, three out of his first four seasons as a full time starter Tillman posted an ERA+ of over 110 while making 30 starts or more and finishing at .500 or better over that four year span. Then in 2017 Tillman just seemed to lose it.

Maybe there was an underlying health issue or maybe it was because the Orioles had once again cycled back into being a non-competitive team looking to rebuild yet again. Tillman could be an interesting low risk high reward candidate.

The Giants found success recently with a pitcher entering their age 31 season coming off of career worst age 30 season in the form of Derek Holland. Chris Tillman could be the 2019 version of that. Furthermore, Tillman reminds me a lot of another former high-pick, big-framed, heavy-ball-throwing former Giant. That person being Ryan Vogelsong.

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They have a similar build, and similar repetoire. Vogelsong has been around the organization providing guidance to Giants pitchers, perhaps he can impart some knowledge and inspiration to Chris Tillman to help him find his way again. Tillman may have had a rough last couple of seasons, but they might be able to get some mileage out of him.

More from Around the Foghorn

As you’re trudging along looking item by item through sales racks and digging through disorganized bins you find a cool T-shirt. The graphic is pretty on brand with your whole aesthetic, but the shirt has seen some better days. The shirt does look a little stretched out and there’s some holes in the armpits. BUT what if you cut the sleeves off and you rock that shirt for a fun, carefree summer look. Your new sleeveless shirt might just be Matt Shoemaker.

Matt Shoemaker has been a fun story since he reached the majors at age 26 as an undrafted free agent. Shoemaker was a true underdog that went 16-4 in his rookie season posting a league leading .800 win percentage. You know who else was a 26 year old rookie? Dereck Rodriguez.

I’m not saying Dereck Rodriguez and Matt Shoemaker are one-in-the same, but they are both testaments that talented players can be identified and perform at a high level, regardless of optics. The past two seasons Shoemaker has battled injuries, but he has pretty decent looking career numbers and could still be a good back end of the rotation/swingman type pitcher if healthy and in the right situation.

Pitching at AT&T park is not necessarily a magic bullet for pitchers, but there are still some very interesting pitchers available out there. On the other side of the ball there are also some very solid, versatile offensive players that have a track record of getting on base and slugging above the league average.

Next.

Very few people know exactly who is on Farhan Zaidi’s radar this offseason, but these are a few names that I found interesting. Maybe the Giants also have some interest in them? Maybe I’m just out of my mind. But with Zaidi’s recent history of finding Chris Taylors and Max Muncys, Giants fans are wondering who our Taylors and Muncys are going to be. When is Farhan Zaidi going to get us our jorts?!

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