On the second day of what would have been Winter Meetings week, the Giants potentially filled part of a big hole in their bullpen.
The Giants are in agreement with right-hander Matt Wisler on a one-year, $1.15 million deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Wisler was non-tendered by the Minnesota Twins last week after what seemed to be a breakout season out of the bullpen. Some around the game were surprised that he was let go, and the Giants moved quickly to add him to their own bullpen.
The 28-year-old allowed just three earned runs in 25 1/3 innings and struck out 35, but he also walked 14. When Wisler kept the ball in the strike zone, he not only missed bats, but avoided hard contact. He ranked in the 91st percentile among big league pitchers in hard-hit percentage, throwing his slider a whopping 83 percent of the time. Opponents hit just .143 off the pitch with just three extra-base hits.
The Giants are betting they're getting the Wisler of 2020, not the one who was on his fifth big league team and has a 4.95 career ERA. Wisler broke into the big leagues as a starter with the Braves in 2015 but has mostly been a reliever the last four seasons. He made four starts for the Twins in 2020 but served as an opener, never going more than two innings.
That kind of versatility should play well in San Francisco, where the Giants prefer relievers who can fill multiple roles and go more than one inning at a time. They have a desperate need for someone like Wisler, too.
Tyler Rogers and Reyes Moronta should pitch late in games, but the Giants hoped to add a couple of veteran right-handers to the mix this offseason and have talked of finding a closer. Wisler doesn't have a history there, and as a right-hander with a fastball that averages 92 mph, he doesn't figure to be the solution in the ninth, but he could provide Gabe Kapler with a more reliable option before then.
Wisler has the most career appearances of any current Giants right-handed reliever.