The San Francisco Giants have an interesting decision to make this offseason on whether to tender a contract to hard-throwing reliever Kyle Barraclough.
No team in baseball played the waiver wire more aggressively during the 2019 season than the San Francisco Giants.
In his first year on the job, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi worked hard to find incremental ways to improve the roster. Along the way, he found good value in cast-offs and under pursued veterans like Stephen Vogt, Donovan Solano and Trevor Gott.
While several players came and went before ever making a notable impact, the verdict is still out on a few of the roster additions.
One player who falls into that category is Kyle Barraclough.
Last offseason, he was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Washington Nationals in a deal that looked like a terrific move by the Nats at the time.
The Marlins were stockpiling international bonus pool money for their pursuit of Victor Victor Mesa, and they wound up receiving $1 million in the deal, but the general consensus was that it was a great pickup for the Nationals.
While he always issued his fair share of walks, Barraclough was largely dominant during his time with the Marlins.
- 2015: 25 G, 6 HLD, 2.59 ERA. 6.7 BB/9, 11.1 K/9
- 2016: 75 G, 29 HLD, 2.85 ERA, 5.4 BB/9, 14.0 K/9
- 2017: 66 G, 1 SV, 22 HLD, 3.00 ERA, 5.2 BB/9, 10.4 K/9
- 2018: 61 G, 10 SV, 10 HLD, 4.20 ERA, 5.5 BB/9, 9.7 K/9
The spike in his ERA during the 2018 season and accompanying 4.97 FIP convinced the Marlins to flip him, and the Nationals bought low hoping he could serve as the primary setup man to closer Sean Doolittle.
Instead, he struggled to a 6.66 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 25.2 innings over 33 appearances before he was designated for assignment and claimed by the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 9.
The Giants sent him to Triple-A Sacramento where he was shelled in his first two appearances, allowing six hits, three walks and seven earned runs while recording just two outs.
However, that was followed by five appearances where he didn’t allow an earned run, surrendering just two walks and zero hits with nine strikeouts in five innings.
The 29-year-old was called up when rosters expanded in September, and he made 10 appearances, posting a 2.25 ERA with 10 strikeouts in eight innings. Granted, he also allowed five hits and nine walks for a 1.75 WHIP, but he still showed intriguing potential.
After earning $1.73 million in 2019, Barraclough is projected to earn $2.1 million through arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
He’ll have another year of team control in 2021 before reaching free agency, so if he does bounce back, he would give the team a low-cost, late-inning option to help fill the void left by Will Smith and Tony Watson departing in free agency.
With so many question marks in the bullpen, the San Francisco Giants should roll the dice on Kyle Barraclough once again emerging as a quality late-inning option. It could wind up being $2.1 million well spent.