SF Giants: Three ways the bullpen will improve without a trade
By Marc Delucchi
The SF Giants are happy to have the best record in Major League Baseball. However, as successful as the team has been through the first two months of the regular season, many fans still feel like they have let too many wins slip away. With just a 2.5 game lead over the San Diego Padres for the top spot in the National League West, it’s easy to feel like the divisional race is tighter than it should be. An erratic bullpen, of course, has been the Giants leading cause of frustration.
Three ways the SF Giants bullpen will improve
1. Tyler Beede, Logan Webb, and Aaron Sanchez returning from injury
While Tyler Beede, Logan Webb, and Aaron Sanchez have all started for the Giants, each one could have a positive impact on the team’s pen. Obviously, with Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, Alex Wood, and Anthony DeSclafani firmly entrenched in the rotation, there will not be room for all three pitchers barring a couple of injuries. With that said, there’s a case for all three to receive an opportunity to relieve.
Webb, Sanchez, and Beede all have had major arm injuries, struggled with inconsistent control, and rarely amassed substantial amounts of innings in a season. All three could thrive in shorter outings. Sanchez and Webb have each held their own as starters for the Giants in 2021, but after each ended up on the injured list, the front office could hope to limit their workloads in a different role.
Beede and Webb each have minor league options remaining, which means their returns from injury could give the front office more ways to maximize the pitching staff. Even if all three return to starting every fifth day, the improved starting pitching depth could enable others to take on bullpen roles.
Recently promoted pitching prospect Sam Long has been dominant between Double-A and Triple-A, striking out 44% of opposing batters. However, the 25-year-old southpaw has been limited to 55-60 pitches an outing. It seems clear that the Giants do not plan to stretch Long out very far this season, perhaps with an eye on converting him into a high-leverage relief role down the line, when the return of players like Beede, Webb, and Sanchez give them the flexibility to do so.