Anyone who watched the SF Giants last season knows that the bullpen needs to improve. The Giants rotation excelled in SO/W ratio, but the bullpen, oddly enough, struggled in that area. The good news is that there are plenty of free-agent relievers who can help them improve in that area.
3 bullpen arms the SF Giants should target based on SO/W ratio
As a unit, Giants relievers posted a 4.08 ERA and a 2.41 SO/W ratio in 2022. Both marks were the 11th-worst in baseball. They need a little more balance in the bullpen, meaning pitchers who can tally high strikeout totals.
As currently constructed, they will feature a bullpen that includes Tyler Rogers and Scott Alexander. Both registered below-average strikeout rates in 2022, but they excel at getting ground balls. Every bullpen needs an arm or two who can get a ground ball with a runner on first base to set up the double play.
However, every team also needs a handful of arms who can get a strikeout when it is needed. That was not the Giants bullpen in 2022 as they recorded the third-worst strikeout rate (8.06 K/9) in baseball.
SO/W ratio is a good measure of being able to pitch effectively and the Giants bullpen needs more of it.
1. Chris Martin - 14.80 SO/W ratio
When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for reliever Chris Martin at the trade deadline, I thought that was a sneaky, good move. Some teams like the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies went with high-profile names like Josh Hader and David Robertson, respectively. However, the Dodgers made an under-the-radar move by acquiring Martin from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Zack McKinstry.
Hader struggled to a 7.31 ERA in 19 appearances for the Padres following the trade, whereas Robertson posted a 2.70 ERA in 22 outings with Philadelphia after the deadline. The Hader move was rough, but the Robertson trade was great.
Martin was even better as he generated a 1.46 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 0.52 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, and a 34.00 SO/W ratio in 26 appearances with the Dodgers. He recorded 34 strikeouts against only one walk in 24.2 innings.
On the year, he posted a 14.80 SO/W ratio in 60 appearances, which was the highest mark among relievers with a minimum of 30 innings pitched. Martin certainly beefed up his portfolio with a strong finish to the year, but it feels like he can still be had on a relatively affordable, short-team deal given that he will be entering his age-37 season in 2023.