SF Giants bolster rotation again, sign another veteran starter

SAN FRANCISCO — With a potential work stoppage and lockout looming, the Giants are among many MLB teams that aren’t waiting around to sign free agents.

After re-signing veteran starter Anthony DeSclafani to a three-year, $36 million deal last week, the Giants announced they agreed to terms with another veteran right-hander, Alex Cobb, on a two-year, $20 million deal with a club option for 2024 on Tuesday.

Cobb will earn $9 million in 2022 and 2023 and the Giants will have the choice of exercising a $10 million club option for 2024 or paying the righty a $2 million buyout.

Cobb, 34, joins DeSclafani and ace Logan Webb in the Giants’ projected 2022 rotation and boasts an impressive résumé, but has also dealt with injury issues in recent years.

Cobb missed nearly all of the 2019 season with a hip injury and only made 18 starts in 2021 due to a wrist issue. When healthy, the former Rays, Orioles and Angels righty has been an effective mid-rotation option and is a proven strike-thrower, which makes him an appealing option for a Giants team that values pitchers with high strikeout to walk ratios.

The signing of Cobb comes two days after former Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman reportedly agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Like Gausman, Cobb’s best pitch is his splitter.

In 2021, Cobb held opponents to a .226 batting average and .308 slugging percentage on his splitter while generating a 35.2 whiff percentage with the pitch. Gausman’s splitter was more effective as he posted a 45.9 whiff percentage with his best offering, but the sixth-place finisher in National League Cy Young voting commanded a nine-figure contract whereas Cobb was significantly cheaper to sign.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and general manager Scott Harris have been busy since the end of the season as they have already brought back Brandon Belt on a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer and signed DeSclafani to the largest free agent contract the franchise has given out since Mark Melancon agreed to a four-year, $62 million deal following the 2016 season.

The Giants are also reportedly close to re-signing starting pitcher Alex Wood as ESPN said Wood could sign a two-year deal worth upward of $20 million to return to San Francisco.

During a videoconference with reporters last week, Zaidi spoke about the decision to re-sign DeSclafani and highlighted his desire to keep much of the roster from the Giants’ 107-win season intact heading into next year.

“I think for us to kind of keep a lot of the same fabric of the roster was was really important,” Zaidi said. “There’s still ways we can improve and upgrade but I think there’s proof in concept with a group of players that was here last year and that’s kind of going to continue to be a theme of ours this offseason.”

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