The SF Giants continued bolstering their bullpen on Tuesday, agreeing to a two-year, $7 million deal with left-handed reliever Jake McGee. FanSided’s Robert Murray first reported that both sides had an agreement, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added the contract terms. McGee becomes the first pitcher to receive a multi-year contract during Zaidi’s tenure in San Francisco.
McGee has had an erratic 11-year MLB career, but the imposing 6’4”-229lbs southpaw has produced incredible stretches of dominance. In 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, McGee was one of the team’s best high-leverage arms in their run to the World Series title. In 20.1 innings of work, he struck out 33 batters, walked just 3, and posted a 2.66 ERA. ERA estimators, like FIP (1.67), xERA (2.40), and xFIP (2.10), were even higher on McGee’s performance than his final results.
SF Giants sign left-handed reliever Jake McGee
Aside from McGee’s strong 2020 campaign, his pitch arsenal will also stand out on the Giants staff. Since 2017, McGee has thrown his 4-seam fastball on 88.3% of his pitches. After adding a number of pitchers who throw traditionally secondary pitches most of the time, McGee’s repertoire follows the exact opposite trend.
From 2011-2015, McGee was one of the best young relievers in baseball with the Tampa Bay Rays. Averaging 58 appearances per season, McGee struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings, walked just 2.4 per nine, and posted an elite 2.79 ERA (2.58 FIP). Reaching free-agency after the 2015 season, McGee inked a three-year, $27 million contract with the Colorado Rockies.
However, a combination of injuries and the difficulties that come with pitching at high altitudes saw McGee struggle to approach his previous performances. After four forgettable years in Denver, the Dodgers added him for the league minimum just days before the 2020 season began.
Our own Jeff Young listed McGee among several relievers that could fit the Giants’ needs in his offseason preview. Due to turn 36 in August, McGee could be an ideal candidate to fill Tony Watson’s role in the bullpen this season as a preserved high-leverage arm that rarely pitches on back-to-back days.
The SF Giants bullpen was a constant source of stress and frustration for fans last season. While the team has not signed any of the biggest names on the free-agent market, the organization has added a plethora of proven options to fortify the unit. Still, even with plenty of other additions, Jake McGee is easily the most proven of the bunch.