San Francisco Giants: Is Alex Wood a potential free-agent target?
The San Francisco Giants have not had consistent starting pitching this season. Could Farhan Zaidi target a familiar face in Alex Wood while looking for starting pitching help this winter?
During the 2019 season, the San Francisco Giants have struggled to put together a consistent five-man starting rotation.
As a result, starting pitching figures to be on the offseason shopping list, and team president Farhan Zaidi could target a familiar face in Alex Wood on the free-agent market.
Wood, 28, has made 136 career starts across seven MLB seasons. In those starts, he’s put together a 48-41 record along with a 3.44 ERA. The only two current Giants pitchers with a lower career ERA are frontline starters Madison Bumgarner (3.11) and Johnny Cueto (3.33).
The left-hander also has considerable experience pitching in the NL West from his four seasons in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform. Zaidi was the general manager for each of those seasons.
To that point, Wood has made 64 career appearances against NL West teams, going 19-12 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 274.2 innings of work.
Among starters under team control for the 2020 season, the only locks for the San Francisco Giants rotation would seem to be veterans Jeff Samardzija and Cueto.
Meanwhile, the Giants have distributed 57 starts among six different pitchers who have one season or less of MLB experience. The hope was that one or more of those young starters would separate themselves from the pack and stake claim to a rotation spot in 2020. Unfortunately, that has not been the case:
- Tyler Beede (Age: 26): 20 G, 18 GS, 5 QS, 3-9, 5.61 ERA
- Shaun Anderson (Age: 24): 20 G, 16 GS, 4 QS, 3-4, 5.28 ERA
- Dereck Rodriguez (Age: 27): 23 G, 14 GS, 3 QS, 5-8, 5.15 ERA
- Logan Webb (Age: 22): 4 G, 4 GS, 0 QS, 1-1, 6.50 ERA
- Conner Menez (Age: 24): 5 G, 3 GS, 0 QS, 0-1, 6.43 ERA
- Andrew Suarez (Age: 26): 12 G, 2 GS, 1 QS, 0-2, 7.23 ERA
- Combined: 84 G, 57 GS, 12-25, 13 QS, 5.59 ERA
While he’s enjoyed considerable success in the past, this season has been a little different for Wood.
A nagging back issue has made for an injury-shortened season. He didn’t make his season debut until July 28, and he’s made just seven appearances on the year. He was also scratched from his last start with the same back issue.
While that hurts his free-agent stock, it won’t necessarily stop Zaidi from entertaining the idea of adding Wood to the rotation.
Just last offseason, he signed Drew Pomeranz to a one-year deal after an injury-riddled season with the Boston Red Sox where he was limited by a flexor strain. While he didn’t bounce back as hoped, he turned into a useful trade chip in July.
Those back issues will no doubt drive down his earning power, which could make him an attractive buy-low target for the San Francisco Giants. There’s likely a connection between the back issues and him posting a career-low in his offspeed runs above average coming in at -2.0 wCH and -3.1 wSL.
If the market stays within the $5-8 million annual salary range for his services, Alex Wood could be a great target offseason target for the Sam Francisco Giants on a one or two-year deal.
One way or another, something will need to be done to upgrade the starting rotation.