SF Giants option hard-throwing reliever ahead of final roster cuts

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The SF Giants are nearing the end of camp, meaning that they are getting close to finalizing the Opening Day roster. One pitcher will not be making the team as the Giants officially optioned Cole Waites to the minors according to the team's transaction page.

SF Giants option hard-throwing reliever ahead of final roster cuts

This move brings the number of players on the 40-man roster in camp down to 30. However, the actual number is lower than that as players like Austin Slater (hamstring) and Mitch Haniger (oblique) will begin the year on the 15-day injured list. On the other hand, Luke Jackson (elbow), Thomas Szapucki (arm) and Luis González (back) will likely open the year on the 60-day injured list.

'When spring training began, there was a really good chance that Waites would break camp with the club. However, those hopes were dashed when he sustained a lat strain before Cactus League games even began.

The 24-year-old did return to spring training action as he recorded a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in a game against the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday night. The good news is that his four-seam fastball sat in the high 90's in his lone Cactus League appearance.

Waites debuted for the Giants late in 2022. He yielded just two earned runs with four strikeouts against four walks across 5.2 frames. The command was subpar, but his fastball velocity sat closer to the mid-90's as he was, perhaps, running out of gas as the season wound down.

Given the lat strain, the right-handed reliever just did not have enough time to build up arm strength. Ideally, relievers get about six or seven appearances in spring training. This will often include a messy inning where a pitcher will throw across two different innings in a game as well as pitching in back-to-back days.

Those are usually the final steps in preparing a reliever for the season. Waites did not have enough time to get to that point, but he should be ready to go in the early going. The hard-throwing righty will begin the year in Sacramento. That said, there is a good chance that he earns an early-season promotion to the active roster when a spot in the bullpen opens up.