SF Giants recall Sean Hjelle, place veteran reliever on paternity list
First off, we would like to congratulate Jackson and his family on the addition to their family. This is a very exciting time for them.
The Giants added the hard-throwing reliever on a two-year, $9.5 million contract last winter. This includes a team option for $7 million with a $2 million buyout. The buyout bumps the guaranteed portion up to $11.5 million.
Jackson underwent Tommy John surgery early last season, so the Giants expected that he would miss the first part of the season. He has put together solid numbers in 2023 as he has posted a 2.97 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 11.6 K/9, and a 2.87 SO/W ratio across 33.1 innings.
In recent years, the 32-year-old has seen a huge increase in his slider usage, which has correlated with better overall numbers. This year, he is deploying his slider nearly 70 percent of the time. When he is not throwing his slider, he flashes a four-seam fastball and an occasional curveball.
The fastball has averaged 94.4 MPH this year, which is a tick below his pre-surgery form. Nonetheless, the results have been encouraging and the Giants expect him to be an important arm in the bullpen next season.
On the other side of the transaction, Sean Hjelle rejoins the team. No one has been shuttled more between Sacramento and San Francisco than the 6-foot-11 pitcher. He has already been optioned five times this year, so the Giants cannot send him down again without exposing him to waivers.
It has been a tough year of development for the former second-round pick. In his second season with the Giants, he has struggled to the tune of an 8.10 ERA in 23.1 innings. He has battled control issues this year, which is a bit surprising given that command has typically been a strength of his in the minors. That said, he has not received stable playing time. His appearances have been sporadic and that is tough to pitch through.
It is fair to wonder how much confidence the current regime has in Hjelle, especially considering that he is a holdover from the prior front office. The 26-year-old will get one more shot this year to try and make an impression for next season.