Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made some waves at his first winter meetings in 2018 when he said he hoped to add enough pitching depth that Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez could start the following season in the minors. A little more than two years later, neither player is part of the organization.
On Monday, the Giants announced they have sold Suarez's contractual rights to the LG Twins of the Korean Baseball Organization, opening a 40-man spot for new catcher Curt Casali, who seems the favorite to be Buster Posey's backup. As part of the move, Suarez was unconditionally released off the Giants' roster. Rodriguez was designated for assignment in August and is now with the Rockies.
In 2018, Rodriguez was the best story of a down season for the organization and briefly was a Rookie of the Year candidate. Suarez made 29 starts and looked like he might have potential as a back-end starter for years to come, but he made just two starts in two years under Zaidi.
Suarez made 19 appearances out of the bullpen in 2019 along with those two starts, posting a 5.79 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. He had a 3.72 ERA in six relief appearances this past season, but he walked six in 9 2/3 innings and spent most of the season at the alternate site in Sacramento. Suarez averaged 7.1 K/9 in parts of three seasons with the Giants and was passed by veterans with more explosive stuff.
The Giants do not have a left-hander set to be in their 2021 rotation, but Suarez was not being considered for that role. For weeks there have been rumors that he was headed to the KBO, and this should be a good move for his career, both financially (he reportedly will get $600,000, which is more than the MLB minimum) and from a pitching standpoint. Several big leaguers have gone overseas in recent years and returned as a different pitcher, and the 28-year-old Suarez still could have a second life in the big leagues.
For now, he's the latest from a disappointing 2015 draft class to move on. The Giants took Suarez with their second-round pick, 61st overall, but he was one of just four players from that class to reach the big leagues. First-rounder Phil Bickford was traded and Chris Shaw was DFA'd earlier this offseason. Steven Duggar, taken in the sixth round, is the only big leaguer from that class who remains with the organization.