The Giants have signed right-hander Ryan Webb, who was released by the Brewers near the end of Spring Training, to a minor league contract, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy. The Wasserman client is set to open the year in Triple-A Sacramento. (He’s been announced as a member of the River Cats’ Opening Day roster.)
Webb, 31, is coming off a rough and abbreviated season with the Rays, in which he pitched just 17 1/3 innings with a 5.19 earned run average. That represented Webb’s lightest big league workload in any season since he made his Major League debut with the Padres back in 2009. Prior to that disappointing campaign in Tampa Bay, though, Webb had logged a career 3.35 ERA in 376 innings with the Padres, Marlins, Orioles and Indians.
Webb isn’t an overpowering arm by any means; he averaged 92 mph on his heater in 2014-15 and sat at 90.9 mph in last year’s limited sample. Beyond that, he’s averaged just 6.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in his Major League career. However, Webb’s control has continually improved since his rookie season. Over the past three years he’s issued only 27 walks (five of them intentional) in 117 1/3 innings of work. Beyond that, Webb boasts a strong 56.1 percent ground-ball rate in his career and has routinely posted lower hard-contact rates than that of the league-average reliever.
The bullpen was a significant question mark for the Giants in 2016 and has already taken a notable hit in 2017 with the loss of southpaw Will Smith to Tommy John surgery. While signing Webb obviously won’t be construed as any kind of marquee addition, it’s also nice for San Francisco to have a depth option that comes with plenty of Major League success under his belt.
The Giants currently have Mark Melancon, Hunter Strickland, Derek Law, George Kontos, Cory Gearrin and Neil Ramirez as right-handers in their bullpen, plus Ty Blach on hand as a southpaw option. Behind that group, right-handers Albert Suarez, Dan Slania and Chase Johnson all represent 40-man options for the Giants.