Per a team release, the Giants have claimed righty Merandy Gonzalez off outright waivers from Miami.
Gonzalez, 23, flashed electric stuff as a fast-rising arm in the Mets system before being shipped to Miami in a 2017 deadline deal for A.J. Ramos. The righty has worked primarily as a starter in a six-year minor-league career, but moved to the bullpen upon promotion to the big club last summer. In 22 IP for the Fish last season, Gonzalez posted a 7.77 K/9 against 3.27 BB/9 in a number of long-relief stints. His early-season work for AAA-New Orleans in the PCL was mostly uninspiring: the hurler struggled to miss bats, perpetuating a troubling trend from the previous season, and exhibited mostly-shaky command throughout.
FanGraphs, which rated Gonzalez 26th in its latest update of the Marlins system, lauds Gonzalez’s fastball/curveball mix, which both feature “nasty” natural movement, but note that his command lags well behind his control; the righty, it seems, isn’t very effective when facing a lineup for the second or third time.
If he sticks on the San Fran 40-man, Gonzalez could compete for the last spot in a deep Giant bullpen, especially if the club decides to dangle lefties Will Smith and Tony Watson as late-spring bait. Travis Bergen, Steven Okert, Fernando Abad, Pat Venditte, Trevor Gott, and Sam Coonrod comprise the bulk of the remaining hurlers in the mix, so perhaps Gonzalez’s status as a swingman could tilt in the odds in his favor.