The Giants have claimed veteran left-hander Jose Quintana off waivers from the Angels, per a team announcement from the Halos. The Giants themselves yet to announce the claim or a corresponding move, although they have an open 40-man roster spot after designating Tyler Chatwood for assignment this weekend.
Quintana, 32, signed a one-year, $8MM contract with the Angels over the winter in hopes of bouncing back from 2020’s injury-ruined season. However, the left-hander labored through just 10 starts before being ousted from the rotation and dropped to the bullpen. Fourteen of his past 15 games have come in relief, and the one spot start he made since that initial demotion went quite poorly. He’s still owed about $1.5MM between now and season’s end, and by claiming him on waivers, the Giants are assuming the remainder of that commitment.
In a total of 53 1/3 innings this season, Quintana has pitched to a 6.75 ERA with a career-worst 11.4 percent walk rate, but his secondary numbers paint a brighter picture. He’s sporting a 3.90 SIERA and career-best marks in strikeout percentage (28.7), swinging-strike rate (11.9 percent) and opponents’ chase rate (32.6 percent). His 45.6 percent ground-ball mark, meanwhile, is his best since back in 2015 with the White Sox.
Quintana has been rocked in the majority of his starts this season, but he holds a 3.93 ERA, a 28.6 percent strikeout rate and a tiny 3.9 percent walk rate in 18 1/3 frames as a reliever. It’s obviously a very small sample, but the vastly improved control he’s shown when working in relief perhaps encouraged the Giants to take a flier on a veteran arm who was at one point one of the most consistently solid starters in Major League Baseball.
From 2013-18, Quintana pitched at least 174 innings and made at least 32 starts per season. His ERA along the way was a rock-solid 3.58 — a number that was largely supported by metrics such as FIP (3.56) and SIERA (3.85). Quintana was a consummate source of reliable, above-average innings throughout that span and an often-overlooked name in All-Star and awards voting. Despite his consistency, he made just one All-Star appearance and only garnered Cy Young votes on one occasion: a 10th-place finish in 2016.
A return to his peak form probably shouldn’t be expected, but Quintana will give the Giants another lefty who is stretched out enough to at least throw a couple of innings per relief stint. And if he can maintain the output that he’s posted as a reliever to this point in the season — or perhaps improve upon it — he’ll be a fine addition to the team’s relief corps down the stretch. By claiming Quintana prior to Sept. 1, the Giants have ensured that he’ll be eligible for their postseason roster. He’s not a lock to be included, of course, but we’ve seen the Giants help turn around the careers of many pitchers to date and Quintana could surface as yet another data point on that growing list.