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SF Giants agree to deal with Reyes Moronta, avoid arbitration

Jun 29, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Reyes Moronta (54) smiles in the dugout before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Reyes Moronta (54) smiles in the dugout before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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SF Giants, Reyes Moronta
SF Giants RHP Reyes Moronta pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The SF Giants will avoid arbitration with Reyes Moronta after agreeing to a one-year deal.

According to a report by FanSided’s Robert Murray, the SF Giants and reliever Reyes Moronta have agreed to a one-year, $695,000 contract to avoid arbitration. Had the Giants and Moronta not come to an agreement before the end of the day, the two sides would have been set for an arbitration hearing. Second baseman Donovan Solano is the lone arbitration-eligible player that has yet to agree to terms with the team.

At his best, Moronta is one of the best relievers in baseball. Since debuting with the Giants in 2017, he has posted a 2.60 ERA, struck out 11.2 batters per nine innings, and allowed less than six hits per nine innings across 128.1 innings of work. His repertoire relies primarily on an upper-90s fastball and devastating slider, but in 2019, he experimented with a changeup that generated an elite 52.9% whiff-rate as well. However, Moronta has struggled to locate his pitches consistently, allowing more than five walks per nine innings in his career.

Forced to undergo shoulder surgery late in 2019, Moronta missed the entire 2020 season. As the Giants bullpen flailed at times without a lockdown arm at the back of the pen, it was worth pondering if Moronta could have been the fix the team needed. Of course, shoulder surgery is one of the most devastating injuries a pitcher can suffer.

Reportedly close to returning to the field towards the end of the season, the organization opted to ensure Moronta had another offseason to rehab before making a big-league return. They hope that extra time pays dividends.

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If he can recapture his old form next season, Moronta could change the entire narrative around the Giants bullpen. Arms like Tyler Rogers, Sam Selman, and Jarlin Garcia were all quite effective in setup roles but were often forced into high-leverage situations on back-to-back days. A revitalized Moronta would give manager Gabe Kapler a sturdy ninth-inning option, enabling him to deploy Rogers, Selman, Garcia, and free-agent acquisition Matt Wisler in more specialized situations.

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