The SF Giants welcomed back infielder Tommy La Stella on Wednesday after a three-month absence. However, Anthony DeSclafani was placed on the injured list with shoulder fatigue and Conner Menez was placed on waivers.
SF Giants: Pitching depth takes a hit with recent roster move
Since La Stella was on the 60-day injured list, the Giants needed to clear a 40-man roster spot by waiving Menez and open up a spot on the 26-man roster by placing DeSclafani on the injured list.
The good news is that DeSclafani is expected to miss only one start, per Kerry Crowley of the Bay Areas News Group. The bad news is that the Giants could lose an intriguing arm in Menez.
San Francisco drafted the left-handed hurler in the 14th round of the 2016 draft out of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California. For several years, it seemed as if the Giants had a bet going that they had to draft a prospect from The Master’s University with Menez being one of the more recent draftees.
The 26-year-old opened some eyes as a minor leaguer with a deceptive delivery and a fastball that sat in the low 90’s but played faster thanks in part to his release point and delivery. He paired this with a slider and a changeup. In five minor league seasons, Menez registered a 4.36 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, and a good 2.56 SO/W ratio while working primarily as a starter.
After a strong minor league campaign in 2019 in which the southpaw posted a 3.79 ERA across 121 frames split between two levels, Menez was promoted to the major league roster. In eight appearances, Menez struggled to keep the ball in the park, allowing four long balls. That said, he did manage to record 22 strikeouts in 17 frames.
Menez returned to the Giants in 2020 where he yielded just three earned runs in 11.1 innings but was he optioned to the alternate training site early in the season. The expectation was that he would return at some point but he never did. Similar to his 2020 campaign, the lefty pitched well in 2021, allowing six runs in 14 innings. It was one bad outing where he gave up five earned runs in two innings that obscured his performance. He was optioned the next day.
Despite his strong performance with the Giants in 2021, Menez struggled badly following his demotion to Triple-A West, which is a tough environment for pitching. Given the Giants’ roster crunch, his struggles occurred at the wrong time.
Menez has performed well at times, meaning that he will likely be claimed. If he is, the organization’s pitching depth will take a hit. With DeSclafani on the injured list and Menez likely gone, the Giants are running thin on alternatives. The decision to place Menez on waivers was a tough call but it makes sense given how he had fallen down the team’s depth chart and the need for a valuable 40-man roster spot.