The SF Giants bolstered pitching depth on Monday. According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, the Giants have added veteran starter Joe Ross on a minor league deal with a spring training invite.
SF Giants News: Former Padres 1st round pick added on minor league deal
Ross missed the entire 2022 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of May. Unfortunately, this is Ross' second time undergoing major elbow surgery. The first procedure was done midway through the 2017 season.
The career span for pitchers after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery is not great, but Ross is on the younger side, so he has that in his favor.
Joe's brother, Tyson, joined the Giants on a minor league deal prior to the 2020 season. However, he opted out of that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has not pitched professionally since then.
The San Diego Padres selected the right-handed hurler in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California. The front office has a penchant for building depth by adding pitchers who missed part or all of the prior season while also targeting local players.
Joe Ross checks off both boxes. He was shipped to the Washington Nationals along with Trea Turner in a complicated three-team deal that included Wil Myers and Steven Souza Jr. Ross was regarded as a good prospect, ranking as high as No. 95 according to Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2012 season.
The 29-year-old debuted for the Nationals in 2015, registering a 3.64 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 1.10 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, and a 3.29 SO/W ratio in 16 outings as a rookie. In a cool moment, the Padres (who originally drafted Joe) allowed Tyson (who was employed by the Padres in 2015) to see Joe's major league debut in the middle of that year.
However, Ross was unable to sustain that performance due in part to major injuries. Across six seasons, the veteran hurler has tallied a 4.26 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, and a 2.86 SO/W ratio in 98 appearances.
He records a decent number of strikeouts while limiting walks, but the long ball has become an issue as he has yielded 1.5 HR/9 over the last four seasons.
The addition of Ross is a no-risk move for the Giants. They already have six starters under contract for 2023 with several more depth options on the 40-man roster. That said, the starting rotation remains relatively high in injury risk, so they need added depth.
If Ross is healthy and throwing well, he could be an option for some spot starts in the second half of the season. As we have seen in recent seasons, the Giants have had to rely heavily on bullpen games down the stretch, but they would like to limit that going forward as it wears down the bullpen.