5:04 PM: The club has announced the deal. DeSclafani’s deal will pay him a fixed salary of $12 million in each of the next three seasons, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group reports (on Twitter).
5:03 PM: The Giants agree on a three-year $36MM deal to bring back a free agent starter Anthony DeSclafanic, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link).
DeSclafani, April 32 next year, spent the past season in San Francisco. He joined the organization last December with a $6 million one-year warranty. That was a low buy-in for the Giants front office, as DeSclafani struggled the year before with both injuries and performance en route to a 7.22 ERA in 33 2/3 innings, his last season with the Reds.
The move worked out as well as baseball operations president Farhan Zaidi could reasonably have expected. DeSclafani stayed healthy — barring a minimal IL stint from ankle inflammation — making 31 starts and finishing 18th in the Nationals League in innings pitched. In addition to taking on a heavy workload, DeSclafani posted arguably the best rate figures of his career. He worked to a personal low of 3.17 ERA and 3.62 FIP, while his 4.11 SIERA is right in line with his best points during his time in Cincinnati.
Despite averaging north of 94 MPH on his fastball, DeSclafani’s swing-and-miss and strikeout numbers are more fine than spectacular. His 11% success rate and 22.5% strikeouts last season were both almost exactly in line with the respective league averages (10.9% and 22.4%) for starting pitchers. While not overwhelming, DeSclafani has typically combined those decent strikeout numbers with plus control and a ground ball speed at or just a touch above the league average.
Fielding-independent stats suggest that DeSclafani is more of a capable mid-rotation workhorse than a true top-of-the-rotation starter. However, there is a lot of value in a third or fourth starter sucking up average to slightly above average innings in bulk, which is the type of pitcher DeSclafani has been throughout his career. For a Giants team that could have lost everything but… Logan Webb out of this year’s rotation, a run to get DeSclafani back always seemed like a strong possibility.
San Francisco chose not to make DeSclafani a $18.4 million qualifying offer at the start of the off-season, but they’re hitting it pretty quickly in the off-season to bring him back on a multi-year deal with a lower average annual value. The deal comes in just a hair below MLBTR’s three-year projection of $42MM. It’s a reasonable price point, although it’s worth noting that this kind of deal has become quite atypical as teams have tended to devalue mid-tier weapons in recent years. Under free agent starting pitchers, only Kyle Gibson ($30MM with the Rangers in 2019-20) and Tyler Chatwood ($38MM with the Cubs in 2017-18) have signed three-year deals worth between $30MM and $50MM over the past five outdoor seasons.
More to come.