In a mild surprise, the SF Giants outrighted reliever Reyes Moronta off of the 40-man roster and reassigned him to Triple-A as Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group reports. The move opens up a 40-man roster spot that they will use on Scott Kazmir, who started Wednesday’s game.
SF Giants: Reliever Reyes Moronta clears outright waivers
It has been a tough couple of years for Moronta. The 28-year-old sustained a shoulder injury at the end of the 2019 season that required surgery and knocked him out for the entire 2020 season. Returning to health has been a slow process as he has struggled to regain the fastball velocity he demonstrated earlier in his career with the Giants.
Interestingly, the right-handed reliever made the club out of camp, allowing just one earned run in four frames before sustaining an elbow injury. Information regarding the injury was scarce but it put him on the shelf for the bulk of this season.
When he did return, he struggled in his rehab assignment to the point where the Giants officially optioned him back to Triple-A. The transaction was merely a procedural move as he was already pitching for the Sacramento River Cats. In 21 Triple-A appearances, Moronta posted an 8.04 ERA with 14 strikeouts against 19 walks in 15.2 frames.
Evidently, the Giants had seen enough that they decided to outright him off of the 40-man roster. However, there was no word of him being placed on waivers before the announcement was made.
Moronta remains with the organization for now with the hope that he can regain the form he demonstrated earlier in his career. In his first three seasons with San Francisco, he registered a 2.66 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 1.200 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, and a solid 2.19 SO/W ratio in 128.1 innings. He was an anchor to the bullpen and emerged as an effective, high-leverage reliever. Despite subpar command, the right-handed reliever proved to be effectively wild and an uncomfortable at-bat for opposing hitters.
The Giants were hoping that he would be a key bullpen arm in 2021 but it never came to fruition. For Moronta, the focus shifts to 2022 as he still has considerable upside if he can remain healthy. He will have plenty of support as he quickly became a fan favorite and the fans will want to see him pitch on the mound once again.