SF Giants have easy decision to make on veteran pitcher this winter

Cincinnati Reds v San Francisco Giants
Cincinnati Reds v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The SF Giants will head into the offseason with most of the starting rotation intact. However, they hold a $10 million team option on veteran pitcher Alex Cobb, which should be exercised with ease as he is one of the better bargains in baseball.

SF Giants have easy decision to make on veteran pitcher this winter

Over the past couple of offseasons, the Giants have held team options on veteran players like Johnny Cueto and Evan Longoria. In those cases, they were on the decline, so not exercising those options was done without much hesitation. Though, there was a modest case to be made to retain Longoria.

That should not be the case with Cobb this winter. His $10 million team option includes a $2 million buyout clause. In essence, his contract for next season holds an $8 million cap hit against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) because the $2 million has already been spread over the guaranteed years of his deal.

Since inking a two-year, $20 million pact prior to the 2022 season, Cobb has been one of the more reliable arms on the Giants' pitching staff. Logan Webb is the ace of the rotation currently, but Cobb has helped to stabilize the front end of the rotation with Webb.

The right-handed hurler has posted a 3.73 ERA in 54 starts for the Giants across two seasons. Prior to coming to San Francisco, there were major durability concerns as Cobb had eclipsed the 150-inning threshold just twice since the start of 2015.

In each of his two seasons with the Giants, the 35-year-old has reached at least 140 innings, which is a relatively heavy workload with today's starting pitcher. Ability has rarely ever been the issue with Cobb. It has been staying on the mound and he has done a nice job of that since the start of last season.

The 12-year veteran has arguably had one of his best seasons this year as he has registered a 3.74 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 1.31 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, and a 3.66 SO/W ratio in 26 starts. This includes a stellar 57.0 percent ground ball rate.

Cobb earned his first All-Star nod this year and even flirted with a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds at the end of August.

Alex Wood's deal is slated to come off of the books at the end of this season. The Giants will need to figure out what they want to do with Anthony DeSclafani, Ross Stripling, and Sean Manaea. The latter two options have opt-out clauses, but it is unlikely that either one exercises it.

Kyle Harrison could quickly emerge as a rotation cog along with some other rookie pitchers like Keaton Winn or Tristan Beck. There is certainly some variability with the rotation, but one decision that will be easy to make is bringing back Cobb.