The SF Giants and Milwaukee Brewers worked out a trade on Monday night. However, that was not the only move the Brewers made as they signed former Giants pitcher Jakob Junis to a one-year deal with a mutual option for a second season.
2023 SF Giants pitcher rewarded with nice contract from Brewers following quietly nice season
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), Junis is slated to receive $4 million in 2024 and his mutual option for 2025 includes a $3 million buyout. The total guaranteed amount is $7 million, which is a nice reward after a quietly solid season in 2023.
Junis is expected to start for Milwaukee after working primarily out of the bullpen with the Giants last season. He tallied a 3.87 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, and a 4.57 SO/W ratio in 40 outings, including four starts.
Last season was easily his best year in a lot of respects, including ERA and strikeout rate. Despite this, it was a bit surprising that the Giants did not give him a chance to work more consistently out of the rotation, especially considering the rotation issues that they had throughout the year.
Junis' new deal marks the end of his two-year stint in San Francisco. He recorded a 4.18 ERA in 198 total innings during that time.
The seven-year veteran came over to the Giants after being non-tendered by the Kansas City Royals following the 2021 season. During his stint with the Royals, he served mostly as the fifth option out of the rotation. While he generally posted healthy strikeout and walk rates, he was a bit too prone to the long ball.
Upon joining the Giants, his pitch mix shifted more in favor of the slider. Junis saw his slider usage increase to 50.5 percent and 62.5 percent in 2022 and 2023, respectively. There is a good reason for this as the slider has been a tough pitch on opposing hitters. Opposing hitters tallied just a .216 batting average against it in 2023. For the Giants, they felt that if the pitch worked, why not throw it more often.
The 31-year-old still flashes a diverse, four-pitch mix that includes a slider, sinker, and a changeup. However, the four-seam fastball and curveball he had with Kansas City had been scrapped with the Giants.
According to Baseball Reference, Junis' career earnings through 2023 totaled $7.4 million, so he will double his earnings in just one season. The Giants have been known for helping pitchers rehab their value in recent seasons and Junis is one of the more recent examples of that.