Giants: Veteran Tyson Ross is a terrific no-risk addition

Tyson Ross. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Tyson Ross. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants added another veteran arm to the pitching staff on Friday, signing right-hander Tyson Ross to a minor league deal.

In the aftermath of Madison Bumgarner departing in free agency, the San Francisco Giants have some work to do building a viable starting rotation.

They already signed one intriguing free agent when they inked Kevin Gausman to a one-year, $9 million contract during the winter meetings.

He’ll join Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto, Tyler Beede, Logan Webb, Tyler Anderson, Dereck Rodriguez, Conner Menez and Andrew Suarez as the team’s top options to fill out the starting rotation.

Now another name can be added to that list:

Tyson Ross, 32, was a quality option as recently as 2018 when he posted a 4.15 ERA with 122 strikeouts in 149.2 innings split between the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.

He was limited to just 54.1 innings in 2016 and 2017 combined after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery, which derailed a career that saw him briefly emerge as one of the better starters in the National League.

Just look at his 2014 and 2015 numbers:

  • 2014: 31 GS, 2.81 ERA/3.24 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 195 K, 195.2 IP
  • 2015: 33 GS, 3.26 ERA/2.98 FIP, 1.31 WHIP, 212 K, 196.0 IP

He was an All-Star in 2014 and was worth 5.9 WAR during that two-year span, and the Giants are rolling the dice on him returning to that form, or even something remotely resembling it.

Things started off well enough for Ross last season, as he posted a 3.38 ERA over his first four starts, turning in a pair of quality starts along the way.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned elbow and neck issues cut his season short in May, and now he’ll have to earn his spot on the MLB roster after inking a minor league deal.

For the Giants, it’s a no-risk move that could bring some legitimate reward, even if he pitches at a league-average level in the rotation or provides some multi-inning appearances out of the bullpen.

Best-case scenario, he pitched well enough to earn his $1.75 million salary and the matching incentives and gives the Giants a welcome veteran presence while taking some pressure off of the young arms in the process.

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Signings like this make perfect sense for a team in the Giants’ position, and Ross will be one to watch closely this spring.