In the day before Giants pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training, the Giants added two more right-handed pitchers to help fill out the rotation puzzle for the 2021 season.
The Giants signed former All-Star Aaron Sanchez to a one-year major league deal worth up to $6 million, and swingman Nick Tropeano to a minor league deal worth up to $2 million.
Sanchez, 28, was an All-Star in 2016 with the Toronto Blue Jays, with a 3.00 ERA in 30 starts, with 161 strikeouts and 63 walks in 192 innings. But after that, injuries have derailed him. In 2017, Sanchez was on and off the injured list with blisters and a split nail. In 2018, he had a finger contusion that put him on the disabled list. In 2019, the Blue Jays traded Sanchez to the Astros midseason, and Sanchez missed time with pectoral soreness, and became a free agent after the season. He missed the 2020 season after having offseason surgery to repair a torn shoulder capsule.
Sanchez reportedly has been followed by the Giants all offseason, and Sanchez turned some heads in a bullpen last week, when his fastball was up to 98 mph. With his major league deal, Sanchez appears to be headed for the rotation, perhaps as the #4 pitcher behind Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, and Anthony DeSlafani. Alex Wood, Logan Webb, Caleb Baragar, and the other recent signing Tropeano will be in competition for the other spot.
Sanchez’s deal is a $4 million deal with incentives that could get him up to $6.5 million. The Giants clearly are taking another chance on him as they’ve done with many rehabilitating pitchers looking for one year deals to re-establish themselves, as they’ve done with Gausman, Drew Smyly, and others over the past two seasons.
Tropeano, 30, took a minor league deal worth $1.1 million and incentives to be worth $2 million. From 2011-2019, he worked mostly as a starter, but struggled from 2018-2019, and spent his brief time in the majors in 2020 as a reliever.
Tropeano is coming off of a well-traveled 2020. He originally signed as a minor league free agent with the New York Yankees, but was designated for assignment midseason, when he was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched in seven games in relief for the Pirates, with a 1.15 ERA, but those were his only appearances, and he was waived late in the season. The New York Mets picked him up, but he elected free agency just after.
The right hander was originally a 5th round draft pick by the Houston Astros, but was traded to the Angels after the 2014 season as part of the deal for catcher Hank Conger. He stayed with the Angels until 2019, when he became a free agent.
The Giants will let Tropeano compete for a role somewhere on the pitching staff in a very crowded group. He could be in the starter mix, but also would fit in as a multi-inning reliever to back up the rotation.