4:16PM: Baggarly has the full breakdown (Twitter link) of Smyly’s available bonuses, including the note that Smyly can receive his $250K roster bonus if he spends 130 days on the active roster, not only if he makes the Giants’ Opening Day roster. Up to $3MM in incentives are available to Smyly based on the number of starts he makes, with at least 12 starts required to unlock his bonuses. $1MM in bonus money is available to Smyly as a reliever — $250K for 25 games finished and another $250K for 35 games finished, and $125K for reaching the 45-, 50-, 55-, and 60-game thresholds in terms of relief appearances.
2:55PM: Smyly will earn $4MM in guaranteed money, The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly tweets, and can also receive a $250K roster bonus. More bonus money is available based on the number of starts Smyly makes, and also (intriguingly) the number of games he finishes, though Baggarly notes that the Giants plan to use Smyly as a starting pitcher.
1:12PM: The Giants have signed left-hander Drew Smyly, as per an announcement on the team’s Twitter feed. Smyly, a Frontline client, has been signed to a one-year contract. Righty Trevor Oaks has been designated for assignment to create space on San Francisco’s roster.
Smyly becomes the second veteran pitching addition of the winter for the Giants, who also inked Kevin Gausman to a one-year deal back in December. The Giants’ rotation mix now consists of Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Gausman as the top three, with Smyly, Tyler Anderson, and younger arms such as Logan Webb, Dereck Rodriguez, Tyler Beede, and Shaun Anderson all vying for starts.
Smyly is the most experienced of the latter bunch with 684 1/3 Major League innings to his name, though the 30-year-old spent 2019 just trying to shake off the rust after missing all of the 2017-18 seasons due to Tommy John surgery. The southpaw posted an 8.42 ERA over 51 1/3 innings with the Rangers before being released, and then briefly caught on with the Brewers and Phillies on minor league contracts.
It was in Philadelphia that Smyly again appeared on a big league mound and somewhat stabilized his performance, posting a 4.45 ERA, 9.8 K/9, and 3.24 K/BB rate over 62 2/3 innings (over 12 starts). Smyly drastically reduced his walks and homers over the course of the season, though his 1.9 HR/9 as a Phillie was still troublingly high, if an improvement over his ungainly 3.2 HR/9 in Texas. To say nothing of possible changes to the baseball for the 2020 season, a move to a more pitcher-friendly environment like Oracle Park should help Smyly keep his home run issues in check.
Now more than two and a half years removed from his Tommy John procedure, Smyly will be looking to get what was once a quite promising career back on track. Smyly posted a 3.24 ERA over his first 395 MLB innings from 2012-15 with the Tigers and Rays, and was a major part of the trade package sent to Tampa Bay for David Price in the summer of 2014. After a somewhat shaky 2016 campaign, however, Smyly was traded from the Rays to the Mariners in the 2016-17 offseason, and ended up never throwing a pitch in a Seattle uniform due to injury.
The Giants’ offseason has been a pretty quiet one, as the team continues to straddle the line between a rebuild and a full push towards contention. The Smyly signing fits the pattern of short-term, fairly inexpensive signings that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has focused on (as well as a blizzard of waiver claims) since taking over San Francisco’s front office last winter. A bounce-back year from Smyly could make him a candidate to be flipped elsewhere at the trade deadline.
Oaks (who turns 27 in March) was claimed off waivers from the Royals in November. The groundball specialist made his MLB debut with 13 2/3 innings for Kansas City in 2018, though hip surgery sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. Oaks has a 3.26 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 3.12 K/BB rate over 532 1/3 career minor league innings, starting 88 of 102 games.