The Giants officially announced decisions on their club options today, exercising their rights to retain infielder Wilmer Flores, left-hander Jose Alvarez, and right-hander Jay Jackson for the 2022 season. As was previously reported, San Francisco officially declined their $22MM club option on Johnny Cueto, and will instead pay Cueto $5MM in buyout money. Additionally, right-hander Yunior Marte’s contract was selected to the Giants’ 40-man roster.
There wasn’t much surprise with any of these option decisions except for possibly Jackson, just because it wasn’t publicly known that the veteran reliever’s contract contained any sort of option. The Giants signed the veteran reliever to a minor league deal this past winter, and Jackson posted a 3.74 ERA and a strong 31.1% strikeout rate over 21 2/3 IP in the big leagues, though he was also hampered by a below-average 13.3% walk rate. Jackson has tossed 56 1/3 innings with the Padres, Brewers, and Giants over parts of three MLB seasons, but he had more success pitching in parts of four seasons with Nippon Professional Baseball.
Flores inked a two-year, $6.25MM free agent deal with San Francisco in February 2020, and he’ll now return for a third season and earn $3.5MM. (The Giants had a $3.25MM decision to make, as Flores was owed $250K in a buyout if the option had been declined.) Flores has hit .264/.328/.470 with 30 home runs over 649 PA in a Giants uniform, and has seen action as a part-time first, second, and third baseman, making him both a versatile platoon piece and a big weapon against left-handed pitching.
Alvarez signed with the Giants last winter, earning $1.05MM in salary last season and now another $1.5MM in 2022 via his exercised club option. Despite several solid years as a member of the Angels and Phillies bullpens, Alvarez’s market was hurt by his lack of action in 2020, as a groin injury limited him to only 6 1/3 frames over eight appearances with Philadelphia.
He bounced back in a major way with the Giants, posting a 2.37 ERA over 64 2/3 innings. Never a particularly big strikeout pitcher, Alvarez’s strikeout rate dropped to a career-low 15.8% last season, yet he still kept batters at bay by inducing a lot of grounders (50.5% groundball rate) and a lot of soft contact.