The SF Giants made a surprising change in the bullpen on Saturday. Veteran reliever Jake McGee was designated for assignment after a rough 2022 campaign.
SF Giants make a surprising move by cutting ties with veteran left-handed reliever
That was not the only change the Giants made as right-handed reliever Yunior Marté was recalled, Zack Littell was placed on the injured list with an oblique strain, and Luis González was activated from the injured list, per the team's transaction page.
González was in Saturday's lineup against the San Diego Padres where he recorded one hit and one walk in four plate appearances in a 3-1 victory behind a stellar effort from Carlos Rodón. The left-handed bat has been one of the bigger surprises of the 2022 season as he has registered a .302/.364/.451 line (128 OPS+) with three home runs, 24 RBI, and 20 runs in 184 plate appearances.
On the other hand, Marté rejoins the Giants from Sacramento as he has been one of the more popular options when they are in need of bullpen help. The 27-year-old reliever has thrived in the Pacific Coast League (PCL), posting a 3.48 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, and a 3.57 SO/W ratio across 18.2 frames with the Sacramento River Cats.
However, he has been far less effective in his first stint on a major-league mound. The righty has yielded 13 earned runs on 20 hits, seven walks, and 12 strikeouts in 17.2 innings with the Giants.
The most surprising news of the day was the decision to designate Jake McGee for assignment. Prior to the 2021 season, the left-handed reliever signed a two-year, $5 million contract with a $4.5 million team option for 2023. The Giants will buy out that option for $500,00 instead.
This was a move where the early returns were very promising. The 13-year veteran posted a 2.72 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 0.90 WHIP, 8.7 K/9, 5.80 SO/W rate, and 31 saves in 62 appearances for the Giants in 2021.
However, he struggled right out of the gates in 2022 and never really found his footing. McGee tallied a 7.17 ERA in 24 appearances while experiencing a sharp decline in his strikeout rate (4.6 K/9).
The 35-year-old reliever relies heavily on a four-seam fastball, but he was not nearly as sharp in commanding it this season. The margin for error is relatively small when the opposing hitter can guess what pitch is coming with certainty.
With that being said, McGee was fantastic and a key part of a really fun team in 2021. The Giants may not have won the NL West without his contributions. Hopefully, he can regain the form that has made him so effective over the last decade.