A few hours after the Giants claimed veteran José Quintana off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels, the move started to make perfect sense.
The Giants announced later Monday that Alex Wood has tested positive for COVID-19 and Johnny Cueto was feeling under the weather. The rotation, all of a sudden, has some serious availability issues, and the timing couldn't be worse with two other NL contenders in town.
Enter Quintana, right? Well, maybe.
Manager Gabe Kapler said Monday that he planned to introduce Quintana to the roster as a reliever, although he added, "If there's anybody equipped to start games and has a history of doing that well in our 'pen ... he's probably as good a candidate as anybody."
Quintana, 32, did both for the Angels this year. He had an 8.23 ERA in 10 starts but was at 3.93 in 14 relief appearances. In both roles, Quintana struck out more than a batter per inning, and Kapler said there are things to like in his profile, noting that he brings another veteran presence and is known for being an excellent teammate.
"He's a guy that's had some interesting success this year," Kapler said. "He has really missed bats. Now, he has also had his struggles -- I think those have been well-documented. The changeup has played for him against right-handed hitters and the curveball has played against left-handed hitters and he's getting swings and misses. And, you go back far enough and you've got one of the better pitchers in baseball. He's 32. He's not old. He can do this and he can help us."
The Giants need the help, even if it's just initially as a long reliever. Kapler got 3 2/3 innings out of Jarlin Garcia on Monday night but that's nowhere close to ideal, and Quintana is stretched out enough that he should be able to slide into a bulk innings role right away.
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As of Tuesday afternoon, the Giants were still TBA for their Tuesday starter. At the very least, they will need a spot start on Saturday when Alex Wood was supposed to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kapler said he would go day by day.
"When we have an open spot in the rotation we're probably not going to plug in a starter three, four days out in advance," Kapler said. "We'll see how our bullpen does and see what options emerge and talk about it and talk about it and talk about it until we feel confident that we've got the right choice."