The Giants announced a quartet of roster moves, including the news that the veteran left-hander Jake McGee has been designated for assignment. right-handed Zack Littel was also placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a left oblique strain, while outfielder Luis Gonzalez was reinstated from IL 10 days and right Yunior Marte was recalled from Triple-A.
McGee signed with San Francisco during the 2020-21 offseason, signing a two-year deal worth $5 million in guaranteed money – $2 million in 2021, $2.5 million this season and a $500,000 buyout of a 2023 club option worth $4.5 million if exercised. That contract paid immediate dividends for the Giants in 2021, as McGee posted a 2.72 ERA, 24.3% strikeout rate and 4.2% elite walk rate of 59 2/ 3 sleeves. With 31 saves, McGee was the closest first for the Giants, although Tyler Rogers and (later in the season when McGee was sidelined with an oblique injury) Camilo Doval also stepped in for some ninth-inning situations.
Unfortunately for McGee, his second season in the Bay Area hasn’t been so smooth. His strikeout rate has dropped to a career-worst 11.5%, and he has a 7.17 ERA in 21 1/3 innings (also missing two weeks on the IL due to a strain in the back). With Doval taking over as closer, McGee was unable to play effectively in a set-up role, and right-handed hitters crushed McGee’s offers.
The Giants had clearly seen enough and could now be responsible for the remainder of McGee’s salary (approximately $1.12 million) if he is not claimed on the DFA wire or acquired in a trade. If McGee clears the waivers and is released, another team will then owe only the pro-rated minimum wage for his services, with the Giants responsible for the remainder of his guaranteed salary.
Despite McGee’s struggles this year, his track record could spark some interest on the business front. The southpaw has been a quality performer for the majority of his 13 MLB seasons, and after appearing to calm down after a tough few years with the Rockies in 2018-19, he’s bounced back in 2020 to contribute to the Dodgers. world championship team. McGee is still very effective against left-handed hitters, so an interested team might try to use him in as much situational work as possible (given the three-hitter rule), or perhaps a new club might feel a change of scenery in general. get McGee back on track.
Littell is another reliever who was excellent in 2021 (2.92 ERA on 61 2/3 IP) but had a few bumps in 2022, posting a 5.04 ERA on 30 1/3 frames. A SIERA of 3.32 indicates that Littell has been a bit unhappy this year, hurt in particular by a spike in his home run rate. Littell also spent 10 days on the COVID injury list and was upgraded to Triple-A in late June before being recalled just two days ago. This means the 26-year-old will at least rack up some Major League service time during his time at IL, and depending on the severity of his strain, Littell could be out for quite a long time.
Gonzalez has been out of action since June 23 with a lower back injury, and he will now look to resume what has been a semi-breakout year. The 26-year-old hit .302 / .361 / .447 with three home runs in 180 plate appearances, getting consistent work against right-handed pitchers even in a San Francisco roster that already has plenty of left-handed outfielders.