The SF Giants might be trying to squeeze one more left-handed reliever onto the roster. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, San Francisco is one of six teams to have recently scouted veteran reliever Zack Britton.
Report: SF Giants eyeing 2-time All-Star reliever
They will face some stiff competition. Rosenthal adds that the Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and the Texas Rangers are also in the mix. The Angels could conceivably be out of the running after inking left-handed hurler Matt Moore to a one-year deal on Thursday.
The Giants have the flexibility of a roster spot with Luke Jackson, so it makes sense that they would look to fill that potential void.
The bullpen posted a 4.08 ERA last season, which ranked as the 11th-worst mark in baseball in 2022. That was in stark contrast to 2021 when the bullpen led baseball with a 2.99 ERA. The front office has addressed the unit by bringing in Jackson and Taylor Rodgers while cutting Jarlín García loose.
Additionally, they are hoping that a full season of Scott Alexander and Thomas Szapucki helps to stabilize a bullpen that did show improvement down the stretch. Giants relievers tallied a 3.70 ERA in the final month of the season. This was after multiple months in which they posted an ERA above five.
It stands to reason that they could use another effective option out of the bullpen and there are not many remaining options who are as accomplished as Britton. The 12-year veteran has posted a 3.13 ERA, 0.5 HR/9, and a 66.7 percent ground ball rate throughout his career.
This includes a 2016 campaign where he was abolsutely stellar for the Baltimore Orioles, posting a 0.54 ERA, 1.94 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, and a 4.11 SO/W ratio in 63 appearances. He earned his second straight All-Star appearance that season while finishing fourth in the AL CY Young voting and earning some down-ballot MVP votes.
Over the past couple of seasons, Britton has dealt with a couple of injuries with the New York Yankees including a hamstring ailment and an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery in September of 2021. He has appeared in a total of 19 major league innings since the start of 2021.
The veteran reliever is 18 months removed from major surgery, so he should be close to returning to his pre-injury form. If he is fully healthy, he could be a shrewd addition for the Giants. However, they will have to compete with several other teams for his services.