After the SF Giants lost Game 5 of the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 2-1, it was reported that one of their relievers has reached free agency. Reyes Moronta is now a free agent after 10 seasons in the Giants organization.
SF Giants Report: Reliever Reyes Moronta becomes free agent
This is a surprising turn of events for the 28-year-old reliever as many envisioned that he would become the closer of the future. It never truly came to fruition, but the hard-throwing righty strung together a strong three-year run in which he posted a 2.65 ERA across 132.1 innings.
He battled erratic command at times but he flashed a devastating slider with a power fastball so there was some margin for error. That said, not enough margin for the Giants to thrust him into the closer role.
His strong, three-year run came to an end late in the 2019 season when he sustained a shoulder injury that required surgery, thereby knocking him out for the entirety of the 2020 season. Being 18 months removed from shoulder surgery, it seemed that Moronta was poised to assume a leverage role in the bullpen again in 2021.
He appeared in four games early in the 2021 season, allowing just one run on one hit with two strikeouts and no walks. In a very small sample, it was evident that Moronta's fastball velocity had not returned to its pre-surgery form. He hit the shelf again due to a right elbow flexor strain that knocked him out for much of this season.
When he did return, Moronta struggled to the tune of an 11.50 ERA with 26 walks against 19 strikeouts across 18 innings in Triple-A. The Giants, who relied heavily on the backend of their 40-man roster at times, were reluctant to recall the righty due in part to his performance.
In a mild surprise at the end of the season, the Giants removed the young reliever from the 40-man roster. There had been no announcement that he was on waivers before that transaction was made so it caught many by surprise. He accepted a minor league assignment to finish out the year.
Now, Moronta is a free agent for the first time in his career. He has battled some injuries in recent years but he is not that far removed from being a quality reliever. He will likely not receive a guaranteed contract in free agency but a team in need of bullpen help will give him a shot to win a job out of camp. His outings were some of the more entertaining moments in some lean years with the Giants. He still has age and upside in his favor to make this a brief foray into free agency.