The SF Giants know that they need to improve their bullpen going forward. Could free-agent right-handed reliever Archie Bradley be the missing piece that brings some solidity?
The SF Giants have already made some important additions to the bullpen thus far in the offseason, signing right-handed relievers John Brebbia and Matt Wisler in free agency. Brebbia and Wisler are both solid signings that should improve the bullpen next year, but there are still question marks in the bullpen such as who will be the closer?
Archie Bradley is a reliever who has experience both as a set-up man as well as at closer, and he certainly has the stuff you would want out of a closer with a high-spin fastball that regularly clocks in the high 90’s and a nasty knuckle-curve that keeps hitters guessing.
Bradley has spent most of his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks but was traded to the Cincinnati Reds last season. As a member of the Diamondbacks, he had several solid years. In 2017 he appeared in 63 games and posted a 1.73 ERA while earning an MVP vote. He spent the 2019 season as the team’s closer and registered a 3.52 ERA, 10.9 K/9, and 2.42 SO/W ratio while recording 18 saves in 21 opportunities.
Surprisingly, he was traded to the Reds in exchange for a pair of prospects at the 2020 trade deadline but was not used as a closer during his stay in Cincinnati. He only made a handful of appearances but he did well, recording a 1.17 ERA in 7 and 2/3 innings. Despite his solid performance, the Reds decided to non-tender the hard-throwing righty rather than pay him a raise from his $4.1 million salary in 2020.
Bradley makes sense on paper for the Giants because he could compete for the closer job with a reliever like Reyes Moronta. And even if Bradley does not end up being the closer, he could still be a valuable set-up man for the team with his high-velocity stuff.
If we learned anything from 2020, it is the value of having a good bullpen. In all of the team’s championship runs from the past decade, they had a stellar bullpen. As a team, the Giants bullpen posted a 4.24 ERA in 2020, so there is plenty of room for improvement, and adding Archie Bradley would go a long way in achieving that end.