San Francisco’s mediocre middle relief stockpile continues…
The Giants agreed to terms Tuesday on a minor league contract with reliever Guillermo Mota, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. GM Brian Sabean and Co. have now inked three unimpressive relievers to minor league contracts within the past 48 hours. (See also: Byung-Hyun Kim and Horacio Ramirez).
Mota, 36, posted a respectable 3.44 ERA and 1.18 WHIP last season in 65 1/3 innings of work for the Dodgers. He has almost always had control problems and has lost some substantial zip on his once high-90s fastball. But, as Baggarly notes, there is a best-case scenario:
If he makes the club and has a similar year for the Giants, he’d be an
able replacement for Bob Howry, who signed with the Diamondbacks.
Mota’s deal includes an invitation to spring training, where he’s likely to earn a spot in middle relief.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.