SAN DIEGO — Amid a stretch of bad baseball that entering Saturday left them at .500, the Giants made their most significant roster tweak of the season with the hope of injecting some life into the club.
Struggling reliever Jake McGee, the team leader in saves last season, was designated for assignment Saturday before their third of four games against the Padres, while outfielder Luis González was activated from the injured list after appearing in only three rehab games.
McGee, 35, had a 7.17 ERA in 21 appearances this season. After starting the season with a concerning drop in velocity, he regained it following a stint on the injured list but was still struggling to miss bats.
“It’s not for a lack of work or effort or preparation or trying, but we’ve just seen a ton of contact and some hard contact at that,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Clearly the velocity has come back and been fairly consistent over his most recent outings … I don’t think we were able to find the best location with his fastball. … Beyond that, what we saw last year and what the entire league saw in 2020 was a lot of whiff. A lot of empty swings. Over the course of the last, well, since he’s been back off the IL, while the velocity’s been back, we haven’t seen that.”
The Giants gave McGee a one-year, $2.5 million contract for this season after he played an important role in the majors’ best bullpen by ERA last season. He appeared in 62 games with a 2.72 ERA and recorded 31 saves.
He’ll now go on waivers, where it’s likely a team will claim him or trade for him to bet on his track record while paying him the major-league minimum. San Francisco will be on the hook for the remainder of his salary for this season.
“This organization feels grateful for the work that Jake did for us last year,” Kapler said. “One of the messages that (pitching coach Andrew Bailey) and I sent was thank you for how you contributed and how you contributed to the culture around here. He’s been a great teammate. It’s not going to surprise any of us to see him go on to future success. Nothing but respect for Jake McGee.”
McGee, however, had appeared in only two games since June 24 and had been passed over for late-inning situations in favor of other lefties such as Sam Long and Jarlín Garcia.
“Just the way the bullpen hierarchy has been, as we saw in Arizona, he wasn’t the number one option for us to come in and get the big left-handed outs,” Kapler said. “It didn’t feel fair to continue to have him out in the pen and not pitching regularly.”
González rejoins club
Before Brandon Belt’s pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning Friday night when the game was already lost, the Giants had combined for three runs and six hits through the first two games of this series.
There’s hope that adding González back into the lineup can also inject some firepower.
González, who has missed the past 15 games with a low back strain, was their leading hitter with a .302 average before landing on the IL on June 22. Over those 15 games, the Giants went 3-12. At the time of González’s injury, the Giants were 38-30 and 4.5 games back of first place in the NL West. Entering Saturday, they were 41-41 and 12.5 games back.
In his three rehab games with Triple-A Sacramento, González homered twice.
Saturday marked the first time this season that he and LaMonte Wade Jr. were both in the Giants’ lineup, bumping Mike Yastrzemski down to eighth against San Diego right-hander Yu Darvish.
“It’s kind of fun to have him and LaMonte in the lineup together,” Kapler said. “It’s gonna be kind of new and different and exciting. … Against a right handed pitcher, to have Mike Yastrzemski in the eight is an indication that we have one of our deeper lineups to date.”
- In an additional roster move, right-handed reliever Zack Littell was placed on the 15-day injured list with a left oblique strain and right-hander Yunior Marte was recalled from Triple-A. Littell, who will receive an MRI on the oblique, is expected to miss more than the minimum 15 days, Kapler said. He suffered the injury on the final two batters of his outing Friday night.
Source: Paradise Post