The SF Giants bullpen still remains one of the worst in baseball with a 5.63 ERA. Only the Chicago White Sox (6.21 ERA) and the Oakland A's (6.87 ERA) have a worse unit than the Giants right now. San Francisco is at a point where all options should be on the table including adding veteran pitcher Ian Kennedy.
Should the SF Giants take a flyer on recently-DFA'd veteran pitcher?
There is plenty of blame to go around with the bullpen woes so far, but the front office just did not create a roster with enough bullpen depth. This has led to some poor bullpen construction such as having three bulk innings relievers in Jakob Junis, Tristan Beck, and Sean Hjelle all at the same time.
Every bullpen needs a good bulk innings reliever, but having three takes away from the core of leverage relievers. As things currently stand, the Giants core relievers include Camilo Doval, Tyler Rogers, Taylor Rogers, John Brebbia, and Scott Alexander.
Taylor Rogers got off to a rough start and it is hard to ignore that some of his struggles over the past couple of seasons have coincided with a sharp decline in sinker velocity. Can he still be effective without a sinker that sits in the mid-90's? That remains to be seen, but he has been better lately. Though, it seems like Gabe Kapler's confidence in him is still low.
The good news is that the bullpen is something that teams can generally improve throughout the season. The unit will not go from the worst to the best overnight, but marginal improvements could go a long way for a Giants bullpen that really needs depth, which brings us to Ian Kennedy.
The Giants know Kennedy well from his days with the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, and Kansas City Royals. The veteran pitcher was designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers on Thursday after a slow start.
The 38-year-old came up as a starter, but has worked out of the bullpen in recent years. The overall results as a reliever are not great. He has posted a 4.50 ERA, 9.6 K/9, and a 3.10 SO/W ratio in his career out of the bullpen.
Not great, but he is two years removed from posting a 3.20 ERA in 55 appearances with the Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies. If that type of pitcher is still hanging around, it would behoove the Giants to see what he can do.
That said, his numbers with Texas were not great. The righty pitcher registered a 7.20 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, and a 4.33 SO/W ratio across 10 innings. The ERA is a tad inflated due to one poor outing, but Kennedy still flashes a quality fastball with good spin and he gets decent strikeout numbers.
Plus, he has begun using his split finger more in recent seasons, which has yielded a healthy number of ground balls.
Fixing the bullpen in May is a tough task. Trades are not really an option this early in the season, so the best bet might be scouring the waiver wire and seeing what sticks. They really do not have a back-end of the bullpen at the moment, so there is little risk in at least considering this option.