The market for Jakob Junis is beginning to take shape. According to multiple reports, the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox are among the teams interested in the versatile, right-handed hurler.
Phillies, Red Sox among the teams interested in 2023 SF Giants hurler
Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required) reported the Phillies' interest in both Junis and veteran reliever Phil Maton. On the other hand, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.Com confirmed the Red Sox's interest in Junis as well as Ryne Stanek.
Both teams see Junis as a pitcher who can come out of the rotation and the bullpen. Boston's pitching coach is Andrew Bailey, who held the same role with the Giants over the past four seasons. This includes two years in which he worked with the veteran pitcher, so there is a prior connection with the Red Sox.
Junis was originally a 29th-round pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2011 out of Rock Falls Township High School in Rock Falls, Florida. The fact that he reached the majors and has put together a seven-year career up until this point is an impressive accomplishment, especially considering that the draft concludes after just 20 rounds now.
The righty pitcher spent his first five seasons with the Royals before he was non-tendered after the 2021 season. This proved to quietly be an opportunistic move by the Giants as they signed him with two years of team control remaining.
During his time with Kansas City, Junis recorded a healthy number of strikeouts, limited walks, but was too prone to the long ball. He often flashed four or more pitchers while relying primarily on his slider and four-seam fastball with the former easily being his best pitch.
Upon joining San Francisco, he continued to throw a diverse pitch mix, but his slider usage notably increased, reaching as high as 62.5 percent in 2023. Opposing hitters tallied a .216 batting average against it last year, so it had continued to be a reliable pitch even with the spike in usage.
This led to the best numbers in his seven-year career. The 31-year-old pitcher recorded a 3.87 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, and a 4.57 SO/W ratio in 86 innings. During his time with the Giants, he served as a bulk innings arm, a one-inning reliever, and a starter. That type of versatility is going to appeal to teams. Though, it is likely that he wants another shot at starting, so a reunion with the Giants is unlikely.
Junis' solid production is another success story that the Giants have had with pitchers in recent years. He is poised to land a multi-year deal with an average annual value that should be higher than his $2.8 million salary in 2023.