Three ways the SF Giants bullpen will improve
3. Taking advantage of their upper minor-league depth
The Giants may not have made any high-end signings this offseason, but they made sure to improve their depth in the upper minor leagues. Nowhere was that more obvious than in the bullpen. The Giants signed several relievers with big-league experience to minor league contracts and three (Nick Tropeano, Zack Littell, and Dominic Leone) have already made their way to the big-league roster. In fact, Littell has emerged as one of the team’s top setup options.
However, the Giants have far from emptied their coffers. Tropeano and Leone were easily the most experienced options at Triple-A, but Trevor Gott and Silvino Bracho have track records of MLB success as well. Several other relievers at Sacramento have made their respective big-league debuts while others have performed well throughout the minor leagues. Regardless of how confident the Giants are in any one player, they have several viable options to turn to if they need to dive further down their depth chart.
Another recent Giants transaction fell under the radar and should impact the pen soon. The Giants added right-handed pitcher Jimmie Sherfy to the 40-man roster. He had been on the injured list at Sacramento and remains on the 10-day IL. Drafted and developed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sherfy had previously made 43 appearances, struck out 48, walked 17, and recorded a 2.98 ERA (3.82 FIP).
After struggling mightily in 2020, Sherfy was forced to settle for a minor league deal this offseason. It likely included an opt-out if he was not on the 40-man roster by a certain date, which probably prompted the roster move. Sherfy led all Giants relievers in strikeouts during spring training and picked up where he left off when he was assigned to Triple-A. In six games at Sacramento, Sherfy struck out 11, walked one, surrendered three hits, and allowed zero runs over 7.2 innings before he landed on the IL. Little has been reported about Sherfy’s injury, but the Giants are clearly confident enough in his recovery to place him on the 40-man roster. Fans should expect to see him at Oracle Park soon.
The SF Giants may need to upgrade their bullpen at the MLB trade deadline to make a legitimate postseason run. Yet the organization has reason to be cautiously optimistic that things will improve internally. As numerous players return from injury and others separate themselves in the upper minor leagues, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi could see his problematic bullpen improve without any acquisitions.