After electing free agency earlier this week, one former SF Giants reliever did not remain on the open market for long. Hard-throwing righty Rico Garcia agreed to a minor-league pact with the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
SF Giants reliever from 2020 season signs with the Baltimore Orioles
The details of the contract are not yet known but it likely includes an invite to spring training. The 27-year-old was originally drafted in the 30th round of the 2016 by the Colorado Rockies out of Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawaii.
He quickly worked his way up the minor-league ladder, registering a 3.75 ERA with a strong 3.13 SO/W ratio in four seasons before briefly appearing with the Rockies in 2019. Garcia yielded seven earned runs in six innings in a Rockies uniform but pitching in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field is a tough challenge for any rookie.
Despite the poor results, the Giants were impressed Garcia's two-pitch combination including a mid-90's fastball and a good changeup. They placed a claim on Garcia after the 2019 season and he remained with the club for the 2020 season.
Garcia did not see consistent playing time with the Giants in 2020. He was a frequent member of the taxi squad and he often traveled to and from the alternate training site when the need arose. In total, he accumulated 10 innings of work, recording a 5.40 ERA on 13 hits, four walks, and seven strikeouts.
It was a small sample, but Garcia did have a couple of impressive appearances that gave the Giants hope that he could remain in the bullpen. However, he struggled to find the consistency needed to stick.
The Giants nontendered Garcia last offseason, but he re-signed with the club on a minor-league deal shortly thereafter. He made several appearances with the Giants during spring training, but he sustained an elbow injury that ended his season prematurely as he required Tommy John surgery.
Garcia will be nearly 12 months removed from surgery when spring training rolls around next season. It is unlikely that he will be healthy enough to make the Opening Day roster with the Orioles but given that the Orioles bullpen posted a 5.70 ERA last season, he could see an extended look with Baltimore.