Perhaps, the least surprising SF Giants news of the offseason became official on Friday. According to Danny Emerman of KNBR, veteran pitcher Ross Stripling is opting in to his contract with the Giants for 2024.
Veteran pitcher to remain with the SF Giants for the 2024 season
The Giants had three players with opt-out clauses for 2024. This includes Stripling, Michael Conforto, and Sean Manaea. Plus, they hold a team option on Alex Cobb for 2024 that they plan to exercise. These decisions will all need to be made by Monday.
It was a slam dunk that Stripling would opt in to the final year of his deal given the season he just had. However, the decision for Conforto and Manaea is still up in the air. Neither player had a particularly strong season but they could look for more guaranteed money on the open market.
Stripling signed a two-year, $25 million contract last winter. This included an opt-out clause after the first season. The opt-out clause is an extremely player-friendly tool because it gives them a chance to re-enter the market if they had a strong season leading up to that decision or they can opt in to the remainder of that deal if they struggle.
The latter was true for Stripling. The Giants had hoped that he would be a reliable arm in the middle of the rotation but that just did not come to fruition. The right-handed hurler posted a 5.36 ERA, 5.21 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, and a 4.38 SO/W ratio in 22 appearances for the Giants in 2023.
The most concerning number is that he registered a 2.0 HR/9, which is the third time in the last four seasons that he posted a rate at two or above. That said, the 33-year-old is only one year removed from a 3.01 ERA in 32 appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Giants hope that he can pitch closer to that form next season.
Regardless of Stripling's decision, the Giants still need to prioritize a frontline starter this winter given the unpredictability of the rest of the rotation outside of Logan Webb. Stripling can go a long way in helping that cause, but the Giants should treat any future production from him as a bonus.