The SF Giants really need starting rotation help and they are just not getting it from some of their veteran options at the moment. With that in mind, it is time for the team to look for rotation options outside of Alex Wood.
It is time for the SF Giants to pull the plug on Alex Wood in the rotation
It bears mentioning that the veteran starter has had a very nice career up until this point. He has posted a 3.75 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.26 SO/W ratio, and a 48.6 percent ground ball rate across 11 seasons.
This includes a solid 2021 campaign when Wood tallied a 3.83 ERA in 26 starts on the heels of signing a one-year, $3 million deal with San Francisco in the prior offseason. That turned out to be a bargain deal, so the Giants rewarded him with a two-year, $25 million contract. This contract made plenty of sense for both team and player.
However, the left-handed hurler has struggled to live up to the expectations of that deal as he has battled both injury and regression. Since the start of 2022, Wood has produced a 5.07 ERA in 41 appearances, including 37 starts.
The Giants badly need length out of the rotation and that is just something Wood does not offer. In 15 appearances in 2023, the veteran pitcher has exceeded five innings just once, which occurred on May 26 when the Giants beat the Brewers by a score of 15-1.
With Wood, it has typically been quality over quantity. When he is in the game, he has proven to be an effective arm throughout his career. A lot has been made of his struggles in the third turn through the lineup. For example, opposing hitters generated a .941 OPS against him in the third turn through the lineup in 2022.
That is fine if he is able to give the Giants 5 - 6 quality innings. However, that has just not been the case. And, it is no longer quality or quantity. During Friday night's loss, the 32-year-old allowed five earned runs across four frames in a 5-3 loss against the Washington Nationals.
In addition to this, Giants manager Gabe Kapler has struggled to know when is the right moment to pull the pitcher. Wood struggled through the first three innings, allowing three earned runs, but Kapler needed more length out of the veteran, so he continued to pitch into the fifth inning. The Nationals lineup scratched two more runs across the plate, which proved to be the difference in the game.
In fairness to Kapler, the bullpen was used heavily during the Cincinnati Reds series, so he may have not had any other choice. That highlights the need for change in the rotation.
Wood has two months remaining on his contract. The Giants are motivated to reach the playoffs, but a subnarrative of the 2023 season is how the rookies position the team for the future. It is hard to believe that someone like Tristan Beck or Keaton Winn would not be an upgrade over Wood. Wood is possibly at the end of his tenure with San Francisco, so it would behoove the organization to see what they have on the depth chart and that should start as soon as next start.