Former SF Giants reliever Dominic Leone had a busy week. He began the week in the Texas Rangers organization, but opted out after he was not added to the active roster. He did not remain on the open market for long as he joined the New York Mets on Thursday morning.
Former SF Giants reliever and 10-year veteran joins the Mets
The Rangers have done a really job of trying to mask themselves as the Giants this year. First, they brought in longtime manager Bruce Bochy as the team's next skipper. It should come as no surprise that they are off to a solid 19-12 start.
Then, they brought in a handful of former Giants players like Leone, Will Smith, Reyes Moronta, Joe McCarthy, and Zack Littell this past winter. Of course, several of those players, including Leone, are no longer with the organization.
Leone finds a new home with the Mets on a one-year, $1.5 million deal. The Mets are off to a slower-than-expected 17-16 start after setting a new record for payroll this past offseason. Leone may seem like a minor move for New York but every team needs a bullpen that runs five or six arms deep.
Leone may fall on the lower part of that range, but he can still be an important reliever. The Giants signed him to a minor league deal prior to the 2021 season. That proved to be a shrewd move as the veteran reliever posted a 1.51 ERA, 3.08 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, and a 2.27 SO/W ratio in 53.2 innings that year. He recorded the final out of the 2021 season that helped San Francisco clinch its first NL West title in years.
However, the right-handed hurler struggled to the tune of a 4.01 ERA in 55 outings last year. He was released before the end of the year. Despite his struggles, the 31-year-old still flashed a mid-90's four-seam fastball with a good slider. He still had quality stuff, but the command was shaky.
Given the Giants' bullpen struggles in 2023, it is fair to wonder if they would not have benefitted from adding a pitcher like Leone. He did record a scoreless frame in his Mets' debut on Thursday. The expectations will be high for him as he joins a Mets team that expects to play deep into the playoffs.