SF Giants make first offseason splash, bring back veteran starting pitcher

A Giants team in desperate need of starting pitching has made its first major league free agent signing of the offseason.

Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani is returning to the club on a three-year, $36 million deal that represents the largest contract president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has given out during his three-plus-year tenure in San Francisco.

To clear a 40-man roster spot for DeSclafani, the Giants designated outfielder Alex Dickerson for assignment. Dickerson was arbitration-eligible and was unlikely to be tendered a contract for the 2022 season.

DeSclafani enjoyed the best season of his seven-year major league career in 2021 as the former Marlins and Reds starter posted a 3.17 ERA over 167 2/3 innings across 31 starts. The New Jersey native recorded a pair of shutouts including one in a 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on June 11 that featured a home run robbery of NL MVP finalist Juan Soto from former Giants outfielder Mike Tauchman.

DeSclafani was one of four high-profile Giants starters to hit free agency this offseason as Kevin Gausman, Alex Wood and Johnny Cueto remain unsigned, although ESPN reported Monday that Wood is in the process of finalizing a two-year agreement to return to stay with the Giants.

Following first baseman Brandon Belt’s decision to accept a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer to return to San Francisco, the Giants’ front office immediately turned its attention to the starting pitching market as ace Logan Webb represented the only holdover from a 2021 rotation that ranked as one of the best in the majors across several key categories including earned run average.

With DeSclafani under contract for the next three years and Wood potentially set to re-sign with the Giants, the club will still need to add more starting pitching depth and given the success he had under manager Gabe Kapler and pitching coach Andrew Bailey, it’s possible Gausman will be high on the list of remaining targets.

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