A year ago at this time, a player coming off the kind of year Jay Jackson just had for the Giants would have been an easy fit for the roster. Hell, it might have made him a sneaky late-innings candidate.
Jackson had a 3.74 ERA in 23 appearances and struck out 11.6 batters per nine innings, but the Giants found themselves so stacked with right-handed relief options down the stretch that the veteran didn't make their postseason roster. The Giants picked up his option after the season, but when they needed the roster spot last week, Jackson was DFA'd and subsequently traded to the Atlanta Braves.
On Monday, after dealing Jackson for cash considerations and a player to be named later, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said it was a tough decision to DFA him and that there was "pretty significant trade interest" from numerous teams.
"Which I think speaks to his performance not just at the big league level but at Triple-A and the track record that he has in his entire professional career of missing bats," Zaidi said. "That's obviously a big deal for teams as they put their bullpens together. We did get a lot of interest in him and he was a guy we would have liked to hold onto, but in the bullpen we just feel like that's an area of depth for our team."
That ultimately led to the decision, and it could lead to another reliever DFA or two as the Giants continue to add free agents to a 40-man roster that's all of a sudden overflowing with depth. From the right side alone, they have Tyler Rogers, Camilo Doval, Dominic Leone, Kervin Castro and Zack Littell returning from their postseason roster. John Brebbia, who was coming off Tommy John surgery, will be in the mix again and Gregory Santos, who threw very well in the Arizona Fall League, will return from a suspension.
Hunter Harvey, Yunior Marte and Randy Rodriguez have all been added to the 40-man roster recently, although Rodriguez, who was protected from the Rule 5 Draft, could still be developed as a starter. The Giants could opt to return Castro or Santos -- both of whom were former starting prospects -- to a rotation in the minors, but even then they're running out of bullpen spots. Jake McGee, Jose Alvarez and Jarlin Garcia are roster locks from the left side.
This is all good news for an organization that had trouble closing out games while falling one win short of the playoffs in 2020. A year later, the Giants led the Majors in bullpen ERA, and that will leave some veterans in a tough spot as they settle next year's roster. Jackson, a pitcher the Giants really liked, was the first to go, but he at least found the perfect home.
Jackson is a South Carolina native so he couldn't have gone any closer to home. He joins the reigning champs, and that perhaps validates the way the Giants felt about Jackson. The Braves won the World Series in large part because of a good bullpen, but they see a role for Jackson, who bounced between Oracle Park and Sacramento while in orange and black.
"(Atlanta) is maybe a place where he has a chance to be at the big league level more consistently and not be an up-and-down guy as he was for us," Zaidi said.