The saying goes that "the last three outs are the hardest," and the Giants certainly found that out the hard way this year. If it weren't for a handful of late blown leads, the Giants very well could have continued on into expanded playoffs this season.
While the numbers show the Giants' bullpen performed better as a whole than it might have felt, they have to get better at finishing games next season. General manager Scott Harris clearly knows that, too.
“I think we’re gonna go into the offseason entertaining the idea of adding a closer,” Harris said to The Athletic's Steve Berman. "... I think as we reflect on the season, we could have used a traditional closer in that sense.
"Not only because it would give us a presence at the end of the game, but it also would allow many of the inexperienced relievers to slot into more suitable roles for themselves."
Trevor Gott led the Giants with four saves, but he also blew two in ugly fashion. Gott, Tyler Rogers, Sam Coonrod, Tony Watson and Sam Selman all recorded a save this season. There was no consensus answer at the end of games, which is something that has to change next year. Luckily for the Giants, there should be a good amount of options to get the job done.
Reyes Moronta, who went down to a terrifying shoulder injury late last season, is healthy and could be an in-house option as a closer in 2021. Hard-throwing prospect Camilo Doval is only 23 years old, but he has a real chance of making the Giants' big league roster out of spring training. The right-hander can hit 100 mph and certainly has the stuff of a shutdown closer. Melvin Adon, 26, is another flamethrower but he has struggled with command and took a few steps back this year.
Harris told Berman, "We’re going to search for veteran relievers that complement our existing relievers, and try to end up with the best bullpen we can." That makes a lot of sense, especially with Moronta returning from injury and Doval being so young. There also are some real options on the open market that fit that billing for the Giants.
The Giants don't have to look any further than the NL West for two veterans on the open market they could hand one-year contracts to. Blake Treinen and Kirby Yates both feel like dream signings for the Giants that check every box.
Treinen, 32, was almost unhittable with the A's in 2018. He had a 0.78 ERA, recorded 38 saves and finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting two years ago. Treinen stumbled the next season but was solid this year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he went 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA.
Yates, 33, might have been the best closer in baseball in 2019. The righty had a 1.19 ERA and led the game in saves with 41. Then, he missed most of this season after getting bone chips removed from his elbow. There's no doubt Yates would love a chance to prove he's healthy and back to the reliever he was just one year ago.
The Giants likely won't hand a big contract out to someone like Liam Hendriks. Veteran free agents like Treinen or Yates, or even Brad Hand, who led the major leagues in saves with 16 this season but was placed on outright waivers by the Cleveland Indians, make plenty of sense though. While the Giants have some in-house options in waiting, adding a veteran would give them time to groom young arms like Doval, more stability and at the very worst a solid trade chip.
Giants fans want less stress at the end of games, and there should be some solutions this offseason.