SF Giants sign former Guardians, Red Sox hurler to a minor league deal

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two
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The SF Giants bolstered organizational pitching depth by adding a veteran reliever. According to Ari Alexander of KPRC 2, the Giants have signed former Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Guardians hurler Justin Garza to a minor league deal.

SF Giants sign former Guardians, Red Sox hurler to a minor league deal

Alexander notes that Garza will report to minor league camp, which indicates that he is not in the running for a spot on the Opening Day rotation. Though, the Giants could call him up from minor league camp when a need arises.

Garza was originally an eighth-round pick by the Guardians in the 2015 draft out of California State University - Fullerton. He was drafted as a starting pitcher, but has transitioned to the bullpen in recent years due to below-average control.

In seven minor league seasons, he has tallied a 4.66 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 8.9 K/9, and a 2.16 SO/W ratio. This does include a 3.98 ERA in parts of five seasons in Triple-A, but that performance has not translated to success in the majors just yet.

The righty pitcher has tallied a 5.74 ERA with 46 strikeouts against 30 walks in two seasons with the Guardians and the Red Sox. His more recent major league action did come in 2023 with Boston, so he has some recent experience against major league hitters under his belt.

On the mound, Garza features a mid-90's sinker with a cutter, slider, and a changeup. The sinker velocity is promising, but opposing hitters have no problem getting lift on it and he does not have an above-average pitch with his secondary offerings.

Of course, the 29-year-old does have two minor league options remaining. That could hold value to the Giants if he is added to the 40-man roster at some point. The Giants' bullpen options on the 40-man roster lack experience, so Garza could eventually slot in as a more experienced alternative.

That is a conversation for a different day as it is likely that Garza is slated to begin the 2024 season in Triple-A. Even if he does not make the Giants' roster this season, he still has had recent success in Triple-A and that could help a Sacramento River Cats roster that is projected to be young with several of the team's top prospects.