SF Giants: 3 worst signings of the Farhan Zaidi era
3. Pitcher Alex Wood (2 years, $25 million)
Alex Wood's contract is similar to Tommy La Stella and Anthony DeSclafani in that it is underperforming but it is not an albatross. Wood's deal is short-term and will be off of the books after the 2023 season.
There are benefits to how the Giants' front office has approached free agency and this is one of them. Even if a deal goes sour, it is usually an amount that they can absorb.
Similar to DeSclafani, Wood had a strong season last year and he was rewarded with a new deal. In 2021, the lefty posted a 3.83 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, and a 3.90 SO/W ratio in 26 starts. This included a solid 50.8 percent ground ball rate.
You can understand why the Giants like Wood because he works quick, fills up the strike zone, and generates plenty of weak contact.
That said, the 10-year veteran struggled to a 5.10 ERA in 26 starts with the Giants this season. Most of his 2022 numbers, excluding ERA, were similar to his 2021 stats such as a 3.76 FIP, 9/0 K/9, 4.37 SO/W ratio, and a 48.2 percent ground ball rate.
Wood is currently on the injured list with a shoulder ailment. It was clear that the veteran starter was not healthy late in the season as his ERA ballooned from 4.11 to 5.10 in his final seven starts.
On the surface, Wood struggled with run prevention despite recording similar numbers to last season but it felt like usage was a factor as well. One of the wrinkles in his profile is that he is unable to give much length with his starts.
He has proven to be an effective pitcher through the first two turns of the lineup, but hitters excelled to the tune of a .941 OPS against Wood in the third turn through the lineup. He can give you five or six innings but should be pulled after that.
At times, Giants manager Gabe Kapler tried to have Wood get one or two extra outs but that move usually proved to be unfavorable. The 10-year veteran will be in the rotation next season, but the Giants will need to have more starting pitching depth in case Wood suffers an injury or transitions into the bullpen.