SF Giants add former Angels hurler on a major league deal, transfer Robbie Ray to 60-day injured list

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The SF Giants bolstered bullpen depth on Wednesday. Former Los Angeles Angels reliever Austin Warren agreed to join San Francisco on a major league deal. In a corresponding move, Robbie Ray was transferred to the 60-day injured list according to a team announcement.

SF Giants add former Angels hurler on a major league deal, transfer Robbie Ray to 60-day injured list

This feels like a circular move. Why does it feel like a circular move? The Giants placed Ray, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, on the 60-day injured list to add Warren, who is also recovering from Tommy John surgery. In fact, both pitchers had the procedure done around the same time last year, which was in early May.

The recovery timeline ranges from 12 - 18 months. Oftentimes, relievers can return in that earlier part of that time range, whereas starters usually take a little more time to rebuild arm strength. There is a good chance that Warren begins the year on the injured list, but whether he is transferred to the 60-day injured list remains to be seen. Of course, that maneuver is needed to create space on the 40-man roster, so it is possible that the Giants leverage that option toward the end of spring training.

The move to transfer Ray to the 60-day injured list is not a surprise. The 60-day injured list is not an option in the offseason but can be used as soon as spring training begins. The 2021 AL Cy Young winner is aiming to return around midseason.

On the other hand, the Angels originally selected Warren in the sixth round of the 2018 draft out of the University of North Carolina - Wilmington. In five minor league seasons, the right-handed hurler has tallied a 3.60 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 11.0 K/9, and a 2.57 SO/W ratio while working exclusively out of the bullpen.

Warren debuted with the Angels in 2021 where he recorded a 1.77 ERA in 20.1 frames. Unfortunately, he was unable to replicate those numbers over the next couple of seasons before undergoing season-ending surgery early in 2023. Overall, he has posted a 3.55 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, and a 3.10 SO/W ratio. However, the Angels placed him on release waivers last week with the hopes that he would re-sign, but that did not come to fruition.

On the mound, the 28-year-old flashes a low-90's four-seam fastball, sinker, slider, and an occasional changeup. The slider is his most effective pitch as opposing hitters have recorded just a .230 batting average against it since he debuted in the majors three seasons ago.

The righty reliever does carry some added roster flexibility as he has two minor league options remaining. Many of the Giants' core relievers cannot be optioned, so this gives the team a little extra flexibility.

On the surface, it is not the most exciting move. That said, teams do need to add a new look or two to the bullpen every year. Too much continuity is a bit concerning with relievers, especially since the Giants bullpen was not necessarily a strength in 2023. The Giants hope that Warren can scratch together some quality innings once he returns from the injured list.