It's (well past) time for the SF Giants to make this painfully obvious roster move

San Francisco Giants v St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants v St. Louis Cardinals / Scott Kane/GettyImages

SF Giants reliever Luke Jackson yielded three earned runs while recording just one out in a 5-4 win against the Chicago Cubs on Monday. The Giants were deploying a bullpen game, so they needed more out of Jackson. Unfortunately, that has been a common theme in 2024 and it is time for the Giants to move on from the veteran pitcher.

It's (well past) time for the SF Giants to make this painfully obvious roster move

The Giants originally signed Jackson to a two-year, $9.5 million pact before the 2023 season. This included a $7 million team option for 2025 with a $2 million buyout. The Giants will almost certainly decline the team option, thereby making him a free agent.

The buyout is an irrelevant cost. The Giants owe at least that amount to the right-handed hurler regardless of the decision they make. From a luxury tax standpoint, that amount has already been applied to his two guaranteed seasons with San Francisco. The buyout will impact actual accounting as that is a cash outflow but will have no impact on the luxury tax calculation for 2025.

When the Giants signed Jackson, he missed the entire 2022 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Before that, he was coming off of a strong 2021 season with the Atlanta Braves in which he registered a 1.98 ERA in 71 appearances while helping them win their first World Series title in 25 years.

San Francisco was hoping that they were getting a bargain with the 32-year-old hurler. He posted a 2.97 ERA in 33 outings last year, but it felt like much of that came in non-leverage spots. Jackson often came into the game when the team was already behind. The Giants needed a leverage reliever, but he has struggled badly in those spots.

The 2024 season has been even worse. Jackson has struggled to the tune of a 6.46 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 1.73 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, and a 1.54 SO/W ratio in 23.2 frames. Both his strikeout and walk rates are trending in the wrong direction.

And, it has been more of the same in terms of usage. Much of Jackson's work comes when the team is already behind, which is a sign that Giants manager Bob Melvin does not have any confidence in him when the game matters.

The non-leverage reliever role is probably the most replaceable spot on any roster. There is a good chance that many of the depth options in Triple-A like Cody Stashak would not represent an upgrade, but it would behoove the Giants to find out. Perhaps, they give a chance to someone who can stick with the club beyond this season.

In all fairness to Jackson, the bullpen struggles extend well beyond one pitcher. The Giants seemingly have a depth issue with few reliable options. However, continuing to ride out Jackson and hoping for better results feels like an exercise in futility. It is pretty clear that he will not be with San Francisco beyond this season. It is time to move on and try and find a better solution.