The Giants have re-signed left-hander Thomas Szapucki to a minor league deal, per his transactions tracker at MLB.com. The club had just non-tendered him a couple of weeks ago. He’s been assigned to Triple-A Sacramento for the time being.
Szapucki, now 27, didn’t pitch in any official capacity in 2023. He experienced some elbow discomfort in the spring which eventually led to surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in May. He stayed on the 60-day injured list all year until he was non-tendered a couple of weeks back. That sent him into free agency without him being exposed to waivers, which allowed the Giants to re-sign him.
Prior to the lost season, Szapucki had appeared in 12 major league games between the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He was with the Mets until coming to the Giants as part of the Darin Ruf trade. He has an 8.68 earned run average in that time, though that’s obviously a very small sample. In Triple-A in 2022, he tossed 72 1/3 innings with a 3.11 ERA and 33.7% strikeout rate.
His health will be a factor going forward, as the track record for pitchers who have dealt with TOS is mixed. Merrill Kelly bounced back without seeming to miss a beat, whereas pitchers like Stephen Strasburg, Matt Harvey and Joe Ross weren’t so lucky. Back in July, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post looked at that disparity and highlighted that there are two different types of TOS. Kelly had venous TOS whereas Strasburg had neurogenic TOS.
The Giants will be hoping that Szapucki can get back to health and back in form. He showed big strikeout stuff in the minors in 2022, which is surely part of the reason why they acquired him from the Mets, for whom he was a top 5-20 prospect on his way up to the big leagues. If the southpaw can earn his way back onto the roster, he still has an option season and just over a year of service time.