Giants add Stripling on 2-yr. deal to pad rotation
1: 41 PM ET
- ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
Right-hander Ross Stripling and San Francisco on Tuesday agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract that includes an opt-out after the first season, enriching a Giants rotation with another free agent acquisition.
On the heels of signing left-hander Sean Manaea to the same deal, the Giants locked up Stripling, a 33-year-old coming off a career-best season in Toronto. Working mostly as a starter, Stripling (10-4) put up a 3. 01 ERA over 134 1/3 innings, striking out 111 and walking just 20.
Stripling, who is getting a $5 million signing bonus, will earn $7.5 million in 2023 and $12.5 million in 2024.
San Francisco is building a rotation with significant depth a year after signing Alex Cobb, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood to multiyear free agent deals. Atop their rotation is 26-year-old ace Logan Webb, and they also return Jakob Junis and Sean Hjelle, who was a starter in the minor leagues but worked in long relief in the big leagues.
The Giants’ pursuit of the best player on the free agent market, Aaron Judge, came up short, but they remain a potential landing spot for the best remaining player — shortstop Carlos Correa — as they transition from their championship core of the early 2010s to a new era led by president Farhan Zaidi.
Stripling fits the Giants’ archetype. His fastball isn’t overwhelming but it’s effective. His command of it helps his slider and changeup — his two best secondary pitches — perform up. He was able to get hitters to chase his pitches out the zone, which is an added bonus to his high walk rate.
He could be in line for regression with home runs after his rate last year was halved despite playing in the home run-friendly Rogers Centre, but Oracle Park is among the friendliest stadiums for pitchers, and his expected metrics aligned closely with his ERA.
Stripling, who was famously yanked from a no-hitter as a rookie to protect his arm, reached free agency after spending his first 4 1/2 seasons with the Dodgers and the last 2 1/2 in Toronto. Since debuting in 2016, he is 38-38 with a 3. 78 ERA in 672 innings and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3. 91-to-1, which ranks 29th of the 137 pitchers with at least 500 innings in that time span.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.