After suffering a crucial injury to their bullpen in Spring Training, the San Francisco Giants will be faced with a difficult personnel decision upon the return of left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt. The Giants opted to begin the 2014 MLB season with just 12 men on their pitching staff, specifically because of the lack of outfield range that power-hitting left fielder Mike Morse presents. That contingency has created a surplus of “long man” in the bullpen, a dual position which is currently occupied by both right-handed reliever Yusmeiro Petit and left-handed reliever David Huff.
As a team, the Giants have cooled off since a 5-1 start fueled by incredibly impressive run production, increasing the need for bullpen protection. While withholding an arsenal of decent arms capable of eating up innings in unfavorable situations might seem advantageous on paper, the Giants don’t intend on winning games by out-pitching opponents in middle relief due to failed starting efforts. San Francisco doesn’t need two long-relief arms in their ‘pen, and will surely look to designate Petit for assignment when Affeldt is reinstated on the 25-man roster.
Petit was a feel-good story in 2013, coming within one out of a perfect game last September. He offers decent stuff out of the ‘pen, but his fastball tops out at 88.7 mph (according to FanGraphs), a pitch of which he has thrown 50.5 percent of the time, while accumulating a highly defunct 1.833 WHIP in 6.0 innings this season. He essentially offers zero value to manager Bruce Bochy, other than the fact that he can chew up outs in ‘five’ games; that is, when the Giants are either leading by five runs or trailing by five runs.
Petit simply doesn’t present much value to a big league club like the Giants, who seek their third National League pennant in five seasons. His chump change salary of $825K is a nice parting gift, considering the solid work he did in the waning months of the Giants’ inexcusably sad “World Series defense” last season. Although Huff isn’t exactly a fool-proof solution, he at least provides the Giants with an extra left-handed arm. At the moment, San Francisco features just one southpaw in their starting rotation: potential Cy Young candidate Madison Bumgarner.
Other so-called logical DFA options upon Affeldt’s return to the big league club include Juan Gutierrez, who has struck out seven while allowing just two earned runs in 6.2 innings this season, and Jean Machi, who Bochy seemingly has a man-crush on. Machi hasn’t allowed a run while striking out five batters in 4.2 innings pitched so far in 2014.
In plain terms, Petit ought to enjoy his parting gift; $825K is an enormous of money in the contemporary American economy for the average man. He’ll survive just fine, despite being out of work.