The Giants announced Tuesday that right-hander Reyes Moronta has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Sacramento. He’s no longer on the 40-man roster.
It’s a bit of a surprising move on a number of levels. San Francisco didn’t formally designate Moronta for assignment, so there was no public indication prior to this announcement that he’d been placed on waivers and made available to the other 29 teams. Beyond that, Moronta once looked like a future high-leverage option for the Giants, though he’s seen several miles drop off his fastball since returning from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder late in the 2019 season.
From 2017-19, Moronta pitched 128 1/3 innings out of the Giants’ bullpen, working to a 2.66 ERA with a strong 29.8 percent strikeout rate. His 13.6 percent walk rate was well north of the league average and a clear area for potential improvement, but Moronta’s average fastball velocity of 97.1 mph and that lofty strikeout rate were obvious sources of intrigue for what he could become with better command of his pitches. President of baseball ops Farhan Zaidi even suggested last season during Moronta’s recovery that he had closer potential.
That surgery indeed wiped out all of Moronta’s 2020 season, and he missed a good portion of the current campaign rehab with a flexor strain. He didn’t require surgery this time around, but Moronta was only activated from the 60-day injured list late last month. He hasn’t pitched particularly well since coming off the IL, either, working to a 7.98 ERA with more walks (18) than strikeouts (13) through 14 2/3 frames of Triple-A ball.
The decision to remove Moronta from the 40-man roster could very well spell the end of his time with the organization. Players with more than three years of MLB service who are outrighted off the 40-man roster during the season can become free agents at the end of the year. It’s technically possible that the Giants could add Moronta back to the 40-man between now and that point, but if that were in the plans, they probably wouldn’t have placed him on waivers in the first place.
In 132 1/3 innings at the big league level, Moronta has a 2.65 ERA and 3.44 FIP with a 29.5 percent strikeout rate and a 13.3 percent walk rate.