It’s rare to see two-year minor league pacts, which are typically agreed upon when it’s known that a player will miss a portion of the upcoming season. Guzman missed nearly all of the 2021 campaign with the Marlins due to elbow issues, which landed him on the 60-day IL in August. I’m told he ultimately required elbow surgery in September, from which he’s still rehabbing. An exact timetable for his return to the mound hasn’t been established, but because Guzman isn’t on the 40-man roster, he’s able to head to the team’s spring complex and work out with the training and medical staff even during the lockout.
Once viewed among the game’s Top 100 prospects over at Baseball America, Guzman was the headline prospect in the trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton from Miami to the Bronx. Prior to that deal, he was involved in another swap of note, going from Houston to New York in exchange for Brian McCann. At the time of the Stanton deal, Guzman was coming off a 2.30 ERA and an 88-to-18 K/BB ratio through 66 innings with the Yankees’ short-season Class-A affiliate. He went on to have a pair of solid seasons in the middle levels of the Miami system, including a career-high 138 2/3 innings of 3.50 ERA ball in 2019.
Unfortunately, owing to elbow troubles and the canceled 2020 minor league season, Guzman has pitched just 18 total innings since that time. Those injuries eventually led to Guzman being jettisoned from the Marlins’ 40-man roster, and he elected minor league free agency after clearing outright waivers.
Health issues notwithstanding, it’s easy to see why any club would want to take what’s more or less a zero-risk flier on this type of arm. Guzman has averaged better than 96 mph in his limited big league action and can reach 101-102 mph with his heater. His slider has received above-average or better grades on scouting reports, and he only just turned 26 over the weekend. He still has just 18 total innings above the Double-A level, so beyond any necessary rehab work, the Giants may prefer to get him a look at the Triple-A level once healthy.