Free agency has been chaotic with the lockout ending as teams look to finalize their roster before the beginning of spring training next week. The Los Angeles Dodgers have been targeting some of the bigger names on the market, but they completed a minor move on Saturday by signing a former SF Giants reliever.
Former SF Giants reliever signs minors pact with longtime rivals
Reyes Moronta is not leaving the National League West as he agreed to a minor-league pact, including a camp invite, with the Dodgers. If he makes the club, he is set to earn a $1.5 million salary.
The past couple of seasons have been challenging for the hard-throwing righty. At the end of 2019, Moronta sustained a torn labrum on his right shoulder that required surgery and kept him out for the following season. The injury occurred in a very scary moment as he collapsed on the mound after releasing the ball in an early September game.
He returned in 2021 but he had not regained the high-90's fastball that he flashed earlier in his career. In four innings with the Giants, he yielded just one run on one hit and two strikeouts. His return to Oracle Park was short-lived as he sustained an elbow injury that knocked him out for the first half of the season.
The Giants assigned him to Triple-A as part of a rehab assignment, but he recorded an 11.00 ERA with more walks (26) than strikeouts (19) in 18 frames with the Sacramento River Cats. By the end of the 2021 season, Moronta was outrighted off of the 40-man roster and became a free agent in the offseason.
The Dodgers are hoping that he can regain the form that made him a very tough reliever earlier in his career. From 2017 - 2019, the 29-year-old hurler anchored the Giants bullpen as he recorded a 2.66 ERA with 160 strikeouts against only 81 hits in 128.1 innings.
This is a more subjective observation, but opposing hitters rarely looked comfortable in the batter's box against Moronta. The Giants were hoping that he would eventually emerge as the team's closer, but that did not take place due to injury.
It is tough seeing a popular SF Giants player like Moronta go to the Dodgers, but the hope is that he is in a position to get his career back on track. If that happens, he is going to be a tough matchup for Giants hitters along with the rest of the NL West.