SF Giants-Texas Rangers Trade Fit: Kyle Gibson
The Rangers have been holding out for a top return for Lynn, but they might even give up a piece to unload their future salary commitments to Kyle Gibson. Signed last offseason to a three-year, $28 million contract to pull him away from the Minnesota Twins, Gibson’s tenure in Arlington has gotten off to a far rockier start.
While he maintained his strong track record of health, Gibson was hit hard in 2020. Across 12 starts, Gibson surrendered 12 home runs, 73 hits, and 40 earned runs (5.35 ERA). His peripherals did not leave much room to suggest positive regression either. His strikeout rate was in-line with career average, but Gibson walked a career-high 10% of the batters he faced.
With $17 million in guaranteed salary still owed to him in 2021 and 2022, Texas would love to clear his contract from their books. Of course, finding a team willing to take his contract seems nearly impossible. The suppressed market for free agents this year makes it even harder to envision a team targeting someone like Gibson.
Diving into his individual repertoire though, a team like the Giants could find some interesting potential rooms for improvement. Both Gibson’s slider and changeup have been above-average pitches, consistently generating whiffs on at least 30% (and often 40%) of swings while only surrendering expected weighted on-base averages below league average once. Yet, as effective as both have been, he’s never thrown them more than 42% of the time in a season. Increasing their usage to around 50%-60% could help him find more success.
If the Giants do believe they could help Gibson be a solid mid-rotation arm, they could probably get the Rangers to add a bit of salary relief and/or attach him to another piece. There will definitely be cheaper options on the free-agent market, but Gibson’s pitch profile and durability could appeal to San Francisco. Perhaps both teams could benefit from working Gibson into another deal.