The SF Giants were very busy at the end of last week, signing both outfielder Michael Conforto and veteran reliever Taylor Rogers. The latter addition was a minor surprise given how the front office has operated in recent years.
SF Giants go against the grain in signing left-handed reliever
Rogers inked a three-year, $33 million pact. This is one of the larger investments that the front office has made in terms of both years and length. Only Tommy La Stella, Anthony DeSclafani, and Mitch Haniger have received a contract of that length since Farhan Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations in November of 2018.
The $33 million cash outlay is fourth behind Conforto ($36 million), DeSclafani ($36 million), and Haniger ($43.5 million). Of course, that cash outlay may not fully come from the Giants in the case of both Conforto and Haniger as they have opt-out clauses in their contract.
However, Rogers' deal is unique given that he works out of the bullpen. The front office has been relatively conservative in spending and that is especially true for the bullpen. In fairness, the Giants have one of the higher payrolls each year, but the risk with many of their deals is low.
Prior to the Rogers signing, the largest investment that the Giants have made to a reliever was Jake McGee's two-year, $4.5 million deal signed before the 2021 season. This included a $4.5 team option for 2023 with a $500,000 buyout, so the total guaranteed money inched up to $5 million.
San Francisco continued that conservative spending this offseason after non-tendering Jarlín García in November. García was projected to earn $2.4 million through arbitration, but he faltered near the end of 2022, so the Giants decided to cut ties.
In a bit of an oddity, Rogers is not coming off of a strong season. He registered a 4.76 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 11.8 K/9, and a 4.42 SO/W ratio in 66 appearances split between the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers. The large variance between ERA (4.76) and FIP (3.31) does suggest that the 32-year-old pitcher was the victim of some bad luck.
Still, he must have had a relatively robust market given the size of the contract he received. Rogers has the track record of success including a 2021 AL All-Star nod and a good sinker-slider combination.
The Giants are banking on the idea that the 2022 campaign was an outlier. They think he is better than the 4.76 ERA he recorded and they have invested a lot of money to find out.