Bargain starting pitchers the Giants should sign immediately

Drew Smyly. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Drew Smyly. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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San Francisco Giants
Giants target Drew Smyly. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Even after adding Tyler Anderson, Kevin Gausman, and Tyson Ross this offseason, the San Francisco Giants will likely continue to look for starting pitching depth.

The San Francisco Giants already have a number of candidates for the starting rotation in 2020, with incumbent starters Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto, Logan Webb, and Tyler Beede set to compete with newcomers Tyler Anderson, Kevin Gausman, and Tyson Ross for five spots.

However, Anderson and Ross could both start the season on the injured list, while Webb and Beede are still trying to establish themselves at the MLB level.

At the same time, the Giants could also look to trade from the rotation depth they have built with Samardzija, Gausman and Cueto all becoming potential trade chips at the July 31 trade deadline.

With all that in mind, the Giants may continue to survey the free agent market for insurance, with a focus on pitchers with modest upside at a bargain rate. Pitchers like that are unlikely to be called upon to make 32 starts next season, but could still wind up eating a good chunk of innings if things go well.

While Taijuan Walker and Alex Wood fit the description of the type of arms the Giants should be targeting, they are not the type of pitchers who will simply be signed for insurance purposes. Both will command a major league contract, and the Giants are more likely to focus on minor league free-agent options at this point.

Those potential minor league free agents might still be known commodities, but they do not have the upside in 2020 someone like Walker or Wood could offer. Nevertheless, the Giants need to protect against injuries or regression as many of their key pitching prospects will likely not make an impact in 2020.

If the goal is to build depth, then adding one more starter would help in achieving that end. Of the free agents still available, Drew Smyly, Clay Buchholz, and Danny Salazar would be ideal fits for the Giants at this stage in the offseason.

Let’s take a closer look at each of those veterans.