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SF Giants tab surprising name as team's closer for 2022

Division Series - San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four
Division Series - San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four / Harry How/GettyImages

Given that the SF Giants boasted the best bullpen ERA in 2021 at 2.99 with many of the same names returning, there are not many open spots in camp. However, in a bit of a surprise, Giants manager Gabe Kapler has already tabbed a veteran reliever as the team's closer.

SF Giants tab surprising name as team's closer for 2022

Kapler joined KNBR on Friday to discuss several topics relating to the regular season including the bullpen. The 46-year-old manager confirmed that lefty reliever Jake McGee would begin the season as the closer, but left the door open for both Camilo Doval and Tyler Rogers to get opportunities as well.

McGee served as the primary closer for much of the 2021 season, but he was seemingly supplanted by Doval down the stretch. The bullpen seems to be relatively fluid for Kapler, so no reliever is stuck in one role and roles can change quickly.

Doval posted a 3.00 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, and a 4.11 SO/W ratio in 29 appearances with the Giants. This included an impressive September in which he completed 15 scoreless appearances while helping the Giants nab the NL West title.

The right-handed reliever flashed a fastball that averaged 98.6 MPH with good spin that he paired with a quality slider. He will get plenty of chances to close out games in 2022 if the momentum he had at the end of last season carries over into this year.

With McGee, the Giants are appointing an established reliever as closer. The 12-year veteran registered a 2.72 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 0.91 WHIP, 8.7 K/9, and a 5.80 SO/W ratio in 62 appearances with the Giants last season. This included 31 saves in 36 opportunities.

The 35-year-old reliever signed a two-year, $5 million pact with a $4.5 million team option for 2023 last offseason. That is a move that paid dividends for the Giants as McGee served in high-leverage innings last year and should continue to see similar work in 2022.

Kapler's announcement was a minor surprise given how well Doval pitched toward the end of last season. However, it may be in Doval's best interest to get more exposure against major league hitters before becoming a full-time closer. The Giants are going with experience and predictability with the hopes that McGee can replicate his strong 2021 campaign.