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SF Giants: Three ways the bullpen will improve without a trade

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 10: Logan Webb #62 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 10, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 10: Logan Webb #62 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 10, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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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)

Three ways the SF Giants bullpen will improve
2. Reyes Moronta, Caleb Baragar, and John Brebbia returning from injury

While multiple Giants starters returning from injuries could set some dominoes in motion to improve the bullpen, it’s easier to see things looking up with some proven relievers rejoining the fold. John Brebbia has made several rehab appearances at Triple-A and appears on the cusp of making his Giants debut. Southpaw Caleb Baragar began his rehab assignment on Tuesday. On the other hand, Reyes Moronta remains some ways away from returning but should be back in the pen by the end of the summer. All three pitchers would improve manager Gabe Kapler’s late-game options.

The Giants signed Brebbia to a one-year deal this offseason. He underwent UCL surgery last summer and missed all of 2020, but prior to his injury, had been a consistent high-leverage reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals. Over his career, Brebbia’s recorded a 3.14 ERA across 175 innings with 198 strikeouts, 54 walks, and just 139 hits. His peripheral numbers have always viewed his work favorably. Had he not suffered an injury last season, he was in position to become the Cardinals closer.

Giants fans are far more familiar with Moronta and Baragar. Prior to hitting the injured list with left elbow inflammation, Baragar had done a fantastic job limiting runs. Across 21 appearances, the left-handed reliever has posted a 0.52 ERA in 17.1 innings. With that said, Baragar’s peripherals raise some concern. He has walked 11 batters and posted a far more average 3.61 FIP. Still, given the bullpen’s struggles, even an average arm could be a valuable improvement.

Finally, Moronta remains the biggest wildcard. One of the team’s most dominant relievers from 2018-19, he posted a 2.66 ERA alongside 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Then the right-hander suffered a catastrophic shoulder injury near the end of 2019. After missing the entire 2020 season, Moronta had flashes throughout spring training of his old self but failed to match his previous consistency. He made four appearances this year before suffering from forearm discomfort that led the team to shut him down. If he can find his way back to the field and find just some of his pre-injury form, Moronta could quickly emerge alongside Tyler Rogers as San Francisco’s most trustworthy reliever.

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