The SF Giants will have a handful of holes to fill this offseason, and there are a number of non-tender candidates who could meet those needs.
In the days to come, we’ll be taking a look at several non-tender candidates who could be a fit for the SF Giants if they do, in fact, hit the open market.
First up, we need to identify the team’s areas of need this offseason.
In a perfect world, the front office would add the following to the roster before Opening Day arrives:
- Left-handed bat
- Starting pitching depth
- Veteran relievers
Toronto Blue Jays Non-Tender Candidate: Ross Stripling
The SF Giants know Ross Stripling well as he pitched against them in parts of four seasons while playing for the division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of course, as a pitcher with experience out of the rotation and the bullpen, the right-handed hurler could fill the Giants needs for both starting pitching depth and a veteran reliever.
The Giants know Stripling well and so does Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Zaidi served as the Dodgers general manager when Stripling debuted back in 2016.
In his first career start, the former fifth-round pick pitched 7.1 innings of no-hit baseball against the Giants at Oracle Park. In what proved to be a controversial decision, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Stripling once the righty reached his pitch limit.
While Roberts was protecting the rookie pitcher, as Stripling had Tommy John surgery less than two years before the game, the Dodgers bullpen went on to blow the game. The Giants won by a score of 3-2 thanks to a clutch home run by Brandon Crawford.
Since then, the 30-year-old has strung together a nice career. From 2016-2019, Stripling posted a 3.10 ERA (3.60 FIP) with a 23.6 percent strikeout rate in 387 innings while bouncing between various roles in Los Angeles.
However, unable to find a consistent role, the Dodgers tried to trade away Stripling along with Joc Pederson last offseason. After the deal fell through, Stripling remained with the Dodgers to start the year.
Soon, things went downhill. The right-handed hurler struggled to the tune of a 5.61 ERA in 33.2 innings and the Dodgers shipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays in a minor move. Los Angeles had the necessary pitching depth to move on and Toronto was desperate for innings. Still, his change of scenery didn’t seem to help him much.
His struggles continued with the Blue Jays as he registered a 6.32 ERA in 15.1 innings to finish the year. His strikeout rate dipped to 18.2 percent in 2020, so his subpar performance came with a concerning red flag.
Now, Stripling is making his second trip through arbitration. While his projected salary is not prohibitive by any means, teams have shown a desire to cut costs at any corner given the uncertain future of baseball in the midst of a pandemic. The Blue Jays have to decide if it is worth it to invest around $3 million in Stripling given how he struggled in 2020.
Zaidi was a part of a front-office that seemed to value Ross Stripling’s versatility highly and with many pitching staff spots expected to be up for grabs in Spring Training, he could easily find a spot on the SF Giants 2021 roster. Of course, first, the Toronto Blue Jays must officially make him a free agent.