Giants sign Pat Venditte, switch-pitching reliever, to one-year contract

Giants sign Pat Venditte, switch-pitching reliever, to one-year contract

SAN FRANCISCO -- The first free agent addition of the Farhan Zaidi Era is a unique one. 

Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants on Friday morning, giving the Giants the only ambidextrous pitcher in the big leagues and an intriguing option for their bullpen.

Venditte got a big league deal and will be on the 40-man roster. He will make $585,000 if he's in the big leagues, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. 

The 33-year-old broke into the big leagues with the A's in 2015. After stints with the Blue Jays and Mariners, Venditte spent the 2018 season with the Dodgers, where Zaidi was the general manager. He was called up a team-high eight times and had a 2.57 ERA in 15 appearances. 

Venditte is a natural right-hander who was taught to throw lefty by his father. He wears a custom-made glove with six finger holes, and by MLB rule, he must declare which hand he'll use before a matchup. 

Manager Bruce Bochy has always used his relievers to get minor platoon advantages, and Venditte gives him a fascinating weapon. He almost always throws with the arm that gives him a platoon advantage. Venditte has had more success as a left-hander, holding lefties to a .186 average. He has faced 143 batters as a right-handed pitcher and 135 as a lefty. 

[RELATED: Everything you need to know about Venditte]

The Giants now have 38 players on their 40-man roster. Venditte joins Rule 5 picks Travis Bergen and Drew Ferguson, and waiver claim Mike Gerber, as offseason additions. At a time when the Giants are actively trying to trade their veteran relievers, it's noteworthy that Zaidi has added two left-handed relievers to the bullpen over the past eight days. 

Why Josh Harrison would fit Giants but isn't perfect platoon partner


Why Josh Harrison would fit Giants but isn't perfect platoon partner

With Farhan Zaidi now at the head of decision-making, the Giants want a more versatile roster. One player who fits the mold and has been linked to the Giants in recent months is Josh Harrison.

FanCred's Jon Heyman resurfaced the report Sunday, listing the Giants, Dodgers, Angels, Phillies and Rays as teams interested in the former Pirates second baseman. 

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has said he will embrace platooning players, and second baseman Joe Panik consistently has been talked about as a player the front office will look at as a left-handed hitter in need of a right-handed partner. 

So, could Harrison be the answer? Yes and no. 

Harrison, 31, certainly is the kind of multi-positional player Zaidi covets. While he spent 87 of the 89 games he saw in the field at second base, compared to just two at third base in 2018, he has played five positions -- second, third, right field, left field and shortstop -- over his eight-year career. 

The Giants could use Harrison all over the field, but is he the right platoon partner at the plate with Panik? Not exactly. 

Panik hit just .191 against left-handed pitching last season, compared to .282 facing right-handers. But Harrison, a right-handed hitter, also struggled mightily against left-handed pitching. He had reverse splits, hitting .262 against right-handers and just .219 against left-handers in 2018. 

Harrison's splits very well could be an outlier, though, making him more intriguing to the Giants. He hit .286 against left-handers in 2017, and is a .279 career hitter against southpaws. 

They'll have to hope his 2018 season isn't a sign for things to come, but Harrison makes plenty of sense for the Giants to at least entertain adding the utility man.

Why Dodgers might pick A.J. Pollock over Bryce Harper in MLB free agency


Why Dodgers might pick A.J. Pollock over Bryce Harper in MLB free agency

When the Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds last month, it sparked speculation that the team was clearing space in its outfield to sign Bryce Harper.

What if it was for A.J. Pollock instead, though?

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday that the Dodgers are interested in Pollock, who fits their player profile and needs in many ways.

Pollock has his issues -- he reportedly wants a five-year, $80 million contract, and he played more than 115 games just twice in seven seasons with the Diamondbacks. But, as Rosenthal noted, Pollock would provide the Dodgers with positional versatility and the right-handed bat they need. Harper, a lefty hitter who mostly plays right field, would do neither, and he’s rumored to be seeking a $300 million-plus deal.

While the Dodgers have big wallets, they could decide signing Pollock for about one-fifth the price of Harper is more prudent. That certainly would sit well with Giants fans, who don’t want to see their hated NL West rivals loading up for a run at a seventh consecutive division title.

And before you ask, no, Harper and/or Pollock aren’t options for the Giants, who also could use outfield help. It’s clear new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who came from the Dodgers, values sense more than dollars as he tackles the huge task of making the Giants contenders again.