SF Giants likely set with current options for starting rotation

San Francisco Giants Introduce Jung Hoo Lee
San Francisco Giants Introduce Jung Hoo Lee / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

The SF Giants finalized the Jordan Hicks signing on Thursday, inking him to a four-year, $44 million pact. Farhan Zaidi met with reporters following the move and threw cold water on the idea of more additions to the rotation, saying, "We feel pretty good about where our pitching staff is."

SF Giants likely set with current options for starting rotation

This is not terribly surprising. The Giants had a couple of voids in the rotation to start the offseason and have seemingly filled those with Robbie Ray and Hicks. The rotation has a patchwork element to it given that both Ray (Tommy John surgery) and Alex Cobb (hip surgery) are expected to miss the start of the year.

As a result of this, the door felt slightly ajar for another addition if the right opportunity came along. However, Zaidi indicated that the plan is to pivot to the infield market. While there are not many quality options in free agency, one name on the trade market makes sense.

So, if the Giants are done making additions to the rotation, there are still quite a few question marks. The only one who is not is Logan Webb, who was the runner-up for the NL Cy Young voting in 2023 while leading baseball with 216 innings pitched. Outside of Webb, there seems to be a framework for the rest of the rotation.

Hicks and Ross Stripling will follow. For Hicks, it will be a bit of a fascinating experiment given that he has worked primarily as a reliever since debuting with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018. There will be a few questions, including whether he is durable enough to handle a starter's workload and whether he will show improved command. He may never be a high-volume pitcher, but that second detail will influence whether he will be a low-volume starter or a reliever.

Both Hicks and Stripling are under contract, so they will begin the season in the rotation. Though, if either one does struggle, the Giants do have enough depth to move one to the bullpen. For Hicks, he would immediately become a leverage option. On the other hand, Stripling would slide into a bulk-innings role.

The injuries to both Cobb and Ray will present some early opportunities for the younger pitchers on the 40-man roster. Kyle Harrison, Tristan Beck, and Keaton Winn will all get a chance to crack the Opening Day rotation with there being a good chance that at least two of them do so.

How much length they get will be determined by performance. If they do perform, then it could put more pressure on either Hicks or Stripling to perform. If they do not, then there is a possibility that they get optioned when Ray or Cobb return.

There is a lot of fungibility with this rotation. There are a lot of directions they can do. If Hicks performs, there is no reason to relegate him to the bullpen when the others return. The same could be said for the trio of younger pitchers. Performance will dictate who sticks, but for the time being, the Giants appear set with their options.