- Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto, on the mend from 2018 Tommy John surgery, experienced a setback in his most recent rehab outing, tweets Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. He’ll be reevaluated in the next few days but won’t be an option for the team as soon as originally hoped. Manager Bruce Bochy had previously put a tentative date of Sept. 8 on a return for Cueto, but that no longer appears to be a plausible timeline. Back tightness, rather than arm issues, has caused the revised timeline. While there’s still hope that Cueto will make it back to the big-league bump this season, the organization will surely avoid any unnecessary risks.
Davis came to the San Francisco organization as part of the deadline deal that sent reliever Sam Dyson to the Twins. The former 25th-rounder was putting up big numbers in the upper minors at the time of the swap but was obviously deemed expendable by the Minnesota organization.
Since changing jerseys, Davis has continued to rake. Over the course of the year, he has posted well-above-average numbers at each stop: a 147 wRC+ at Double-A, 175 wRC+ in the International League, and 160 wRC+ in the Pacific Coast League.
It remains to be seen whether Davis will be able to apply his power consistently enough at the major-league level. But it’ll certainly be fun to see whether he can do so. We’ve seen other under-the-radar slugger types carry forward big upper-minors production into the bigs. If that’s the case for Davis, the Giants could have a steal. He’d have required a 40-man spot in advance of this winter’s Rule 5 draft regardless of today’s move, so there was little reason not to give him his first look now.
The Giants have claimed infielder Corban Joseph off waivers from the Athletics, per a club announcement. Righty Tanner Anderson was outrighted after clearing waivers, the Oakland organization also announced.
It’s yet another addition for the insatiable Giants, who placed Pablo Sandoval on the 60-day injured list to clear roster space. The 30-year-old Joseph becomes the latest player to catch the eye of president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Just what kind of opportunity he’ll have late this season remains to be seen.
Joseph debuted way back in 2013 but has appeared in only 27 lifetime MLB contests. He struggled this year with a brief chance in Oakland, but spent most of the season at Triple-A. In 425 plate appearances in the Pacific Coast League, he slashed a robust .371/.421/.585 with 13 long balls. The left-handed-hitting Joseph is primarily a second baseman; he could see some time there along with the righty swinging Mauricio Dubon.
11:29am: The Giants have announced the move, adding that lefty Andrew Suarez has also been recalled from Triple-A. San Francisco’s 40-man roster is now full.
11:21am: The Giants will select the contract of right-hander Kyle Barraclough prior to today’s game against the Cardinals, tweets Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. The veteran right-hander is already with the club in St. Louis, he notes. San Francisco has an open spot on its 40-man roster at the moment, so a 40-man move to accommodate Barraclough’s promotion isn’t a strict necessity.
It’s been less than a month since the Giants claimed Barraclough, 29, off waivers from the Nationals. Barraclough briefly served as the Marlins closer in 2018 and was a steady setup piece in the Miami bullpen from 2015-18, but he had a season to forget following last October’s trade to Washington.
In 25 2/3 innings with the Nats this year, Barraclough turned in a disastrous 6.66 ERA — due largely to the fact that he surrendered as many homers (eight) in that short sample as he did in 55 2/3 innings a year ago. In fact, heading into the 2019 season, Barraclough had only yielded a total of 15 home runs in 218 2/3 innings. Home runs are up throughout the league, of course, but Barraclough’s increase was among the most stark in the game.
With the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, Barraclough was blasted for seven runs in his first two-thirds of an inning. Those continued struggles may have aided the Giants in successfully passing Barraclough through outright waivers, but he’s righted the ship since that alarming system debut. He’s pitched five straight appearances without yielding an earned run, collecting nine strikeouts against three walks across five innings in that time.
Entering the 2019 season, Barraclough had pitched to a 3.21 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9 in 218 2/3 innings at the big league level. If he’s able to continue his recent momentum and convince his new organization that he can a future piece in the ’pen, the Giants will be able to control him for another two years via arbitration. If he’s ultimately removed from the 40-man roster a second time, he’ll have the requisite service time to elect free agency at season’s end.
Reyes Moronta’s season is over, as the Giants right-hander has suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. (Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was among those to report the news.) It isn’t yet known if Moronta will undergo surgery, though it is being considered.
Such an outcome isn’t unexpected given Moronta’s extreme reaction last night upon suffering the injury. After throwing a pitch to Luis Urias in the sixth inning of last night’s 4-1 Giants loss to the Padres, Moronta fell to the ground in obvious pain, and needed a few minutes to recover before leaving the field.
Depending on the severity of the tear and other details regarding the injury, surgery could potentially keep Moronta on the IL for a very lengthy time, perhaps to the extent of putting his entire 2020 season in jeopardy. Sean Manaea, Arodys Vizcaino, and Jimmy Nelson are a few recent example of pitchers who underwent similar labrum procedures, with Manaea returning to the mound just today after missing over a year, and Nelson representing more of a worst-case scenario since he missed over a season and a half of action. Again, it won’t be known if Moronta is looking at a similar timeframe given the specifics of his own tear, though obviously he, the Giants, and the doctors will explore whether or not the injury could heal without surgical intervention.
The news brings an unfortunate end to a second consecutive season of very solid work for Moronta out of the Giants’ bullpen. The hard-throwing righty posted a 2.86 ERA, 11/1 K/9, and 2.12 K/BB rate over 56 2/3 innings this season, following a 2.49 ERA over 65 frames in 2018. Walks have been a continual problem for Moronta, as his 5.2 BB/9 is one of the chief reasons advanced metrics are less impressed by his work (3.57 FIP, 4.84 xFIP, 4.30 SIERA this season), though he has done an admirable job of keeping the ball in the park during the homer-happy 2019 season — Moronta’s 6.5 % homer rate is the sixth-lowest of any pitcher in baseball with at least 50 innings pitched this year.
Moronta is a homegrown Giants product, signed out of the Dominican in 2010 as a 17-year-old free agent. He has worked almost exclusively as a reliever during his pro career, and was in line to assume a larger role in San Francisco’s bullpen given how the Giants already parted ways with some veteran relievers at the trade deadline, and face the potential loss of Will Smith to free agency this winter.
The Giants have activated third baseman Pablo Sandoval from the 10-day injured list, according to Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group. While the fan favorite will still undergo Tommy John surgery per doctors’ recommendation, activating Sandoval should offer him a final chance to end his Giants tenure (and his time under manager Bruce Bochy) by his own accord, likely receiving a final at-bat as a left-handed pinch-hitter.
While the move is essentially symbolic, it’s nonetheless surprising given that many had written off a potential swan song for the long-time Giants third baseman. Don’t expect Sandoval to contribute in a meaningful way, though Giants fans certainly won’t be opposed to giving him a proper send-off.
Sandoval ingratiated himself to the San Francisco faithful during the organization’s dynamic run of success from 2008-2014, a luxury that he didn’t share during his time in Boston, after a big-money contract backfired on the team. That culminated in his release in 2017, at which point he rejoined the club with which he signed as an amateur more than a decade ago. While there was no doubt that Sandoval was not the same in his second Giants tenure, he’s reversed his fortunes this year to regain the admiration of Giants fans. On a minimum salary for San Francisco, he’s posted a .823 OPS, his highest mark since 2012.
If the Kung Fu Panda does make his way into a September game at Oracle Park, it may be the last time he does so in his career. The 33-year-old is slated to reach free agency following the season, though the veteran may be resistant to a departure from San Francisco after his last attempt. Given that loyalty to the Giants and the immense pain that Sandoval has described, it would seem that retirement is not out of the question for Sandoval, though there has been no indication that he’s leaning that way.
10:23 pm: Reporters following tonight’s game between the Giants and Padres were aghast at the sight of Reyes Moronta falling to the ground after delivering a 97.5-mph fastball to San Diego’s Luis Urias. Moronta was removed from the mound with the help of a trainer while clutching his right arm. Kerry Crowley described the optics as “really bad”, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle speculated that Moronta was “seriously hurt”, and Grant Brisbee of The Athletic simply summed up the scene as “awful”.
While more official word will presumably follow the conclusion of tonight’s action, there are surely still some white knuckles around the situation in the Bay Area tonight. At 66-68, the Giants don’t figure to extend their wild midsummer run at the Wild Card, but Moronta has been widely viewed as a major part of the SF bullpen moving forward. Since debuting in 2017, Moronta has used his blazing fastball to subdue hitters with consistency. Over 128.1 innings to this point in his career, the righty owns a 2.66 ERA and an 11.22 K/9 mark–though a lack of strike zone management (5.05 career BB/9) has always threatened to undermine his potential.
The Giants, of course, traded away both Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson at this year’s trade deadline, opening an opportunity for Moronta to continue to slide towards the first chair in the team’s bullpen. Further updates to Moronta’s status will be provided at first opportunity.
- Although Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is set for Tommy John surgery, his season doesn’t look over quite yet. Manager Bruce Bochy told Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group and other reporters Thursday that Sandoval could at least make some pinch-hit appearances before he goes under the knife. In the meantime, Sandoval will test out his swing to see if he’ll be able to contribute more this season. The longtime Giant, 33, is a strong bet to hit free agency in the offseason, meaning his run in San Francisco could be on the verge of concluding.
The Giants have released veteran righty Carlos Torres, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. He had joined the organization earlier this month on a minors deal.
Details of the departure aren’t clear, but the San Francisco organization has continued to churn through a large number of relief arms. Torres had been working at the team’s top affiliate, marking his fourth Triple-A team on the season.
The 36-year-old Torres, a ten-year MLB veteran, has thrown 62 1/3 total innings of 4.33 ERA ball this year, with 7.8 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9. He’s not likely to be seen as a major possible addition by a contender, but could certainly help pad the depth of an organization that wants to be sure it’s covered down the stretch.
- The Giants are shutting down right-handed reliever Trevor Gott for two weeks because of a Grade 1 UCL sprain and a flexor strain, according to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic. Surgery’s not an option at the moment, fortunately, and manager Bruce Bochy’s hopeful Gott will pitch again this season. If not, this will go down as an encouraging year for Gott, whom the Giants acquired from the Nationals for cash considerations in February. While Gott has put up an unappealing 4.44 ERA in 52 2/3 frames, he has also notched a 3.12 FIP with 9.74 K/9 against 2.91 BB/9 and almost doubled his swinging-strike rate since last year (from 5.6 percent to 10.8).
- More from Baggarly, who tweets that righty Johnny Cueto’s another Triple-A start away from rejoining the Giants. The 2018 Tommy John patient’s scheduled to take the ball Saturday, after which the Giants hope to activate him. That would seem to align with Bochy’s Sept. 8 projection for Cueto. The Giants’ playoff hopes are all but dead at this point, but they’ll nonetheless be glad to welcome Cueto back in advance of 2020. Next season will be the second-last guaranteed campaign of the six-year, $130MM contract San Francisco handed the then-ace prior to 2016.