Do the SF Giants already regret offseason trade with the White Sox?

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

The SF Giants swung a few minor trades over the winter, but there is one trade they likely immediately regret. San Francisco shipped hard-throwing pitcher Gregory Santos to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitcher Kade McClure.

Do the SF Giants already regret offseason trade with the White Sox?

Santos had been placed on waivers after the Giants signed Sean Manaea to a two-year, $25 million deal. Let's just say that the early returns on that Manaea deal have not been promising.

Santos had once been considered a top prospect, so it was no surprise to see the Giants work out a trade with Chicago. McClure made a positive first impression with San Francisco as he yielded just three earned runs on eight strikeouts against one walk in 10 innings during the Cactus League.

The pitching prospect has struggled to the tune of a 4.96 ERA in seven outings for the Sacramento River Cats while getting in the headlines for this reaction.

This is one transaction that the front office must already regret for several reasons. It is no secret that the Giants have one of the worst bullpens in baseball. That unit has posted a 6.34 ERA in 2023, which ranks as the third-worst mark in baseball. Only the White Sox (6.68 ERA) and the Oakland A's (6.86 ERA) have worse bullpens than the Giants.

Despite Chicago's struggles out of the bullpen, it is hardly Santos' fault. San Francisco originally acquired the pitching prospect along with Shaun Anderson in a move that sent Eduardo Núñez to the Boston Red Sox.

Santos was considered an intriguing young prospect for Boston, but his development was stalled due to injuries and a PED suspension. The Giants added the righty pitcher to the 40-man roster prior to the 2021 season. He struggled to the tune of a 4.99 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and a 1.69 SO/W ratio in parts of two seasons with Sacramento.

The 23-year-old struggled with command, but flashed an impressive sinker-slider combination with the former pitch sitting comfortably in the high 90's. He appeared briefly for the Giants in the 2021 and 2022 seasons, but allowed seven earned runs across 5.2 frames in five sporadic outings.

Santos looks nothing like that pitcher in 2023 as he has tallied a 1.76 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, and a 3.20 SO/W ratio in 15.1 innings with Chicago. The command has improved quite a bit in the early going and he has not had to sacrifice anything in terms of stuff.

That said, Santos is allowing a bit of hard contact as opposing hitters have produced a 91.0-MPH average exit velocity against. That is about the only blemish on Santos' stat line so far, but the Giants are likely kicking themselves for giving up on him so quickly, especially considering how the bullpen has performed this season.