The SF Giants signed left-handed pitcher Alex Wood to a one-year, $3 million contract. However, the fallout for the starting rotation remains to be seen.
The SF Giants have signed left-handed pitcher Alex Wood to a one-year deal. His contract includes $3 million in guarantees with another $3 million in potential performance bonuses, according to a report by Maria Guardado of MLB.com. The incentives are based on the number of times he records at least 10 outs in an appearance.
Wood debuted with Atlanta in 2013 and was an incredibly consistent starter over the next six seasons. While consistently limited by injuries, only averaging 134 innings a year, Wood posted a 3.29 ERA and 3.36 FIP. His peak came in 2017 when he struck out 151 batters in 152.2 innings and held opponents to a 2.72 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Following the next season though, Wood was packaged with Yasiel Puig in a trade to the Cincinnati Reds and has yet to replicate that success.
In 2019, Wood struggled over 7 starts with the Reds, posting a 5.80 ERA over 35.2 innings pitched. Last offseason, our own Jeff Young found a number of similarities between Wood and former Giant Drew Pomeranz, arguing Wood could be primed for a move to the bullpen. While he did not land in the City by the Bay, he returned to the Dodgers on a one-year deal and primarily pitched out of the bullpen. Limited to 12.2 innings across 9 appearances, Wood struck out 15 batters but posted a 6.39 ERA (5.01 FIP). Of course, it’s difficult to make too much out of such a small sample of play.
From the looks of his contract though, it appears he is slotted for the starting rotation. If this is indeed the last “major” starting pitcher addition of the Giants offseason, fans have reason to be very concerned about the Giants staff. Currently, Wood slides alongside returning veterans Johnny Cueto and Kevin Gausman, young arm Logan Webb, and offseason addition Anthony DeSclafani. Of the group, Gausman is the only one who was league-average last season.
Still, it seems noteworthy that Wood’s contract does not list starts or innings as the incentive. Wood could be slated for a swingman role, which might make sense if the Giants are targeting another high-risk arm like Corey Kluber. Of course, at this point, that’s only speculation.
For now, the SF Giants have added another starting pitcher with a long track record of success, but recent struggles in Alex Wood. On a low-risk, one-year deal, the Giants continue to add bounce back candidates the team could shop at the trade deadline or look to extend if they take a step forward in 2021.