The SF Giants recently non-tendered Cole Waites, Thomas Szapucki, and José Cruz, making them all free agents. However, Waites' foray into free agency did not last long as he was re-signed to a minor league deal, per the team's transaction log.
SF Giants re-sign recently non-tendered pitcher to minor league deal
The non-tender deadline is a bit of a unique day in baseball in that it is the only day in which teams can non-tender pre-arbitration players, making them free agents. The alternative is to risk placing them on waivers with the chance that they can get claimed by any of the remaining 29 teams.
So, the non-tender maneuver allows a pre-arbitration player to become a free agent rather than be placed on waivers. And, it opens up a spot on the 40-man roster, which has added value in the offseason due to the fact that the 60-day injured list cannot be used.
For Waites, re-signing him to a minor league deal is likely a move that does not have any impact on 2024, but it keeps him in the organization. The 25-year-old pitcher is expected to miss all of the 2024 season after undergoing Tomm y John surgery late in the 2023 season.
The recovery timeline for pitchers ranges from 12 - 18 months with relievers often able to return closer to the 12-month period. However, that all depends on the recovery process.
Waites was originally an 18th-round pick in 2019 by the Giants out of the University of West Alabama. Across four minor league seasons, he has tallied a 3.76 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 14.6 K/9, and a 2.46 SO/W ratio in 92 appearances. Control has been has been an issue, especially as he has advanced up the minor league ladder while struggling to the tune of a 7.0 BB/9 rate in two seasons in Triple-A.
The hard-throwing reliever did debut for the Giants in 2022 and briefly appeared this past season as well. He has allowed six earned runs with six walks against six strikeouts in 8.0 sporadic innings with San Francisco.
On the mound, Waites flashes a mid-90's four-seam fastball with a slider. The fastball has good spin and his perceived velocity plays up due to above-average extension from his release point. The Giants hope that he can be healthy and back on the mound by 2025.