The SF Giants briefly cut ties with a trio of young pitchers in November. However, all three are back after they re-signed José Cruz and Thomas Szapucki, per the team's transaction log. Presumably, these deals will come with a camp invite.
SF Giants re-sign two pitchers to minors deals after being non-tendered
It was confirmed that the Giants also re-signed Cole Waites last week. That move will not have an impact on the 2024 roster as he is expected to miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
All three pitchers occupied spots on the 40-man roster at the beginning of the offseason. However, the Giants will need those roster spots at some point, so all three were non-tendered in November. The non-tender deadline is a bit of a unique deadline in baseball as it gives teams a chance to non-tender pre-arbitration players, thereby making them a free agent. The alternative is placing them on waivers, but this runs the risk of losing them to another club.
The strategy worked as the Giants were able to retain all three pitchers. That is not terribly surprising news as this is an approach that many teams employ.
Szapucki could be an interesting name to watch in spring training. He missed all of last season after undergoing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) surgery. The track record of pitchers fully recovering from that procedure is not great and the Giants hope that Szapucki is an exception.
The left-handed pitcher was acquired in a midseason trade with the New York Mets in 2022. He was excellent with San Francisco, posting a 1.98 ERA with 16 strikeouts against four walks in 13.2 frames to finish the season. Originally a starter, Szapucki has spent more time in the bullpen lately and that could be the best spot for him given his injury track record.
He still has a starter's repertoire with a mid-90's four-seam fastball, curveball, and a changeup. The Giants had hoped that he would be an important part to their bullpen last season but that never came to fruition. The 27-year-old pitcher might get another shot to make an impact.
On the other hand, José Cruz was a bit of a surprise addition to the 40-man roster last winter. He was eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but the Giants were worried that he might get plucked away, so they protected him by selecting his contract.
That turned out to be a poor evaluation as the 23-year-old pitcher spent the entire season on the 40-man roster while not pitching above Double-A. In 36 appearances split across two levels, he tallied a 4.47 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 13.6 K/9, and a 1.76 SO/W ratio in 44.1 innings. His control is very much a work in progress.