What should the SF Giants do with Anthony DeSclafani in 2024?

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants placed Anthony DeSclafani on the injured list with a flexor strain in his pitching elbow at the end of July. However, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area revealed that the veteran pitcher would receive a PRP injection, which would shut him down for six-to-eight weeks, likely ending his season. With that in mind, what should the Giants do with DeSclafani in 2024?

What should the SF Giants do with Anthony DeSclafani in 2024?

The Giants signed the right-handed pitcher to a one-year, $6 million deal prior to the 2021 season. That proved to be a shrewd move as he posted a 3.17 ERA in 31 starts for a Giants team that won 107 games and clinched a playoff birth.

DeSclafani was rewarded with a three-year, $36 million deal in the following offseason. The Giants hoped that he would serve as a mid-rotation arm for the duration of that contract. However, that has not been the case at all and the Giants need to be realistic about what they can expect from him next season.

Since signing his new deal, DeSclafani's performance has been hampered by injury and ineffectiveness. He struggled through five starts last year where he registered a 6.63 ERA before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery.

After completing only 19 innings in 2022, there were tepid expectations of DeSclafani's workload this season. He proved to be healthy in the early going, generating a 2.70 ERA in five starts through the first month of the season.

However, he never regained his footing after that as he struggled to the tune of a 5.81 ERA over the next 14 outings, which included two trips to the injured list. DeSclafani could be done for the year, which would mean that he has completed just 118.2 ineffective innings since signing his new deal.

Unless the Giants can find a trade partner, DeSclafani's $12 million salary will be on the books next season. So, do the Giants keep him? There is some precedent for cutting ties before a contract is complete.

The Giants released Tommy La Stella before the final year of a three-year, $18.75 million deal last winter. Though, the writing was on the wall before last season ended that his time in a Giants uniform was over. And, the Giants tried to replace his role on the roster by adding both Brett Wisely and Isan Díaz
to the 40-man roster. Both Wisely and Díaz were far less experienced than La Stella, but all three were left-handed-hitting infielders, creating a roster redundancy.

Would the Giants do the same with DeSclafani? It is certainly possible. At this point, the Giants cannot pencil him for any type of meaningful work next season. With all that being said, they do have a high appetite for injury risk and DeSclafani fits that description.

Each year, the Giants sign a pitcher or two who had missed substantial time in the prior season with the hope that they could serve as rotation depth. They could act as if DeSclafani is that type of signing, but with the expectation that he is very far down the depth chart.

The Giants do like a depth chart that runs seven or eight options deep. Usually, most of those pitchers have some type of previous track record, which again, could be someone like DeSclafani.

DeSclafani would be an expensive fringe rotation option, but they cannot really expect him in any other role. The Giants should operate as if the veteran pitcher is not in next year's plans, and if he gives them anything, it is a bonus. They cannot count on him to be one of the top five options and still need to look for upgrades elsewhere.

This is all to say that while DeSclafani's three-year deal has been largely disappointing, there is a possibility that he returns in some role to begin next season. If he does not perform, they can quickly cut ties at that point, but they are not the type of team that often cuts pitching depth before that option has been entirely exhausted.