The San Francisco Giants have added another starting pitcher. Two days after signing Sean Manaea, the Giants have agreed to a two-year contract with right-hander Ross Stripling, the team announced Tuesday. The deal is worth $25 million, reports ESPN, and includes an opt out, according to the New York Post.
Stripling, 33, has spent most of his career as a very successful swingman. He made 24 starts and eight relief appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2022, throwing 134 1/3 innings with a 3.01 ERA. Stripling set new career bests in starts, innings, and ERA, among other things. He really propped up a Toronto rotation that didn't get enough from José Berríos or Yusei Kikuchi.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and Stripling are certainly familiar with each other from their days with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Stripling the 33rd best free agent this offseason. Here's his write-up:
Stripling, plagued by the home-run ball throughout his career, may have figured out a solution to the problem in the form of his new changeup. For the first time in his career he deployed his cambio as his top secondary offering. His faith was rewarded as his change ended up leading his arsenal in batting average against and whiff rate. What's more is that Stripling's changeup ranked near the top of the majors in both swing and chase rates. That combination, plus the results the pitch generated, indicates batters had a hard time identifying it out of his hand. (His old changeup was said to be too recognizable because of the pitch's spin.) There's no guarantee Stripling will continue to suppress home runs to this extent, but a team betting on him achieving a new true talent level can take solace that he'll invest the money wisely. He might be the big-league player most likely to know the Black–Scholes equation.
On paper, Stripling gives the Giants six starts for five rotation spots along with Manaea, Alex Cobb, Anthony DeSclafani, Logan Webb, and Alex Wood. Stripling has plenty of bullpen experience, however, plus DeSclafani is coming back from right ankle surgery. There's no such thing as too much pitching depth and San Francisco is making sure they have plenty of it.
The Giants reportedly remain in touch with lefty Carlos Rodón, the best available free agent starter, and it's unlikely the Stripling signing takes then out on Rodón entirely. Cobb, Manaea (opt out), Stripling (opt out), and Wood can all become free agents after 2023, plus Rodón is a bona fide ace. If you can sign someone like that, you do it, and sort out the rest later.
San Francisco went 81-81 in 2022 and was expected to be very active this offseason. They lost out on Aaron Judge but are said to be in the mix for Carlos Correa, the top available free agent hitter.