Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz's reported Padres contract shows why he joined Giants

Drew Pomeranz's reported Padres contract shows why he joined Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- For years, the Giants have tried to use Oracle Park as a selling point for free agent pitchers, and Farhan Zaidi talked about embracing that strategy when he was hired last fall. So it stood out when Zaidi signed Pomeranz a couple months later and said during an introductory conference call that Pomeranz and his agents were the ones who pushed for the deal to be just one year. 

“It was important to get a one-year deal and reposition himself in free agency,” Zaidi said in January. “We’re certainly hoping we can give him that kind of platform to have him have a really strong year and re-enter the market or stay in San Francisco, if it works for both sides.”

Pomeranz did end up cashing in as a free agent, but not quite in the way either side expected when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal in late January to join the Giants' rotation. Pomeranz agreed to a four-year deal with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday that will guarantee him $34 million, per Robert Murray of The Athletic

He got that big deal not because the Giants plopped him down in Oracle Park, but because they moved him to the bullpen. As a starter, Pomeranz was a DFA candidate with a 6.10 ERA. But the Giants moved him to the bullpen on July 22 and Pomeranz showed enough in four scoreless appearances that Zaidi was able to flip him to the Brewers for Mauricio Dubon, who should be his starting second baseman next year. 

Pomeranz struck out eight batters in 5 1/3 relief innings before the trade and then whiffed 45 in 26 1/3 innings for the Brewers. The big difference was velocity. Pomeranz was sitting 91-92 and maxing out at 94 as a starter most nights. In shorter stints, he regularly hit 96-97.

The velocity and strikeout rate set Pomeranz up as one of the better relievers on the market, and the Padres jumped on their former starter, hoping he can be part of a lockdown bullpen for a team that expects to contend and has been plenty busy this week. 

[RELATED: Why Beede viewed his rookie season as so promising]

It was a wild ride for Pomeranz, but in the end, he got that big deal that he was hoping for all along -- and the Giants got plenty out of the transaction, too. Dubon was a hell of a return for a few promising relief outings from Pomeranz, and that experience should bolster their belief that they should take a few more shots on pitching lottery tickets this offseason. 

MLB free agency: Five relief pitchers A's could target this offseason

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MLB free agency: Five relief pitchers A's could target this offseason

It's no secret that the A's need to improve their bullpen. Oakland blew 30 saves in 2019, the most of any team in the majors.

With that in mind, here are five free agent relief pitchers the A's could target this offseason:

Will Harris

The A's already know Harris well from his time with the Astros. The 35-year-old has spent the last five years in Houston, posting a sparkling 2.36 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.

The 2019 season was the best of Harris' career. The right-hander went 4-1 with four saves, along with a 1.50 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. He notched 62 strikeouts in 60 innings, allowing just 14 walks.

Harris earned $4.225 million this past season and could be due a raise after his terrific performance. However, at the age of 35, he still figures to be an affordable option for Oakland.

Drew Pomeranz

The former A’s left-handed found tremendous success as a reliever this year after getting dealt to Milwaukee. In 25 games with the Brewers, Pomeranz went 0-1 with two saves, a 2.39 ERA, and a 0.91 WHIP. The 30-year-old struck out an eye-popping 45 batters in just 26 1/3 innings, while issuing eight walks.

Pomeranz pitched for the A's in 2014 and 2015, going 10-10 with three saves and a 3.08 ERA. He spent the first part of last season across the Bay in San Francisco, where he struggled mightily as a starter, going 2-9 with a 5.68 ERA. But once he arrived in Milwaukee, he became a completely different pitcher.

Pomeranz earned $1.5 million this year after making $8.5 million in 2018. His new contract will likely fall somewhere between those figures, making a second A's stint a possibility.

Daniel Hudson

A crucial part of the Nationals' World Series title, Hudson figures to be a hot commodity on the free agent market. The 32-year-old went 9-3 with eight saves and a 2.47 ERA between Washington and Toronto, striking out 71 batters in 73 innings.

Hudson also notched four saves in the postseason, going 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA. The right-hander has a career ERA of 3.83 in 10 seasons, with the first four coming as a starter.

Hudson earned just $1.5 million this year and will be in line for a significant raise. Still, the hard-throwing veteran could be worth it for an A's team in need of late-inning options.

[RELATED: Why A's, Hudson would be good fit]

Joe Smith

Smith was superb in limited appearances for the Astros this season. The veteran right-hander went 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 25 innings, striking out 22 and walking five.

Smith, 35, has a career ERA of 2.98 in 13 major league seasons. The sidearm specialist has been particularly effective against right-handed hitters, limiting them to a meager .215/.278/.308 slash line throughout his career.

Smith just completed a two-year, $15 million deal with Houston and could be available for a similar price this time around. The A's would be wise to at least make an inquiry.

Steve Cishek

Cishek is coming off back-to-back stellar seasons with the Cubs. The right-hander combined to go 8-9 with 11 saves and a 2.55 ERA, registering 135 strikeouts 134 1/3 innings.

[RELATED: Bullpen upgrade is Forst's main priority]

Cishek, 33, has a career 2.69 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 132 saves in 10 seasons. His sidearm delivery has also been especially successful against right-handed hitters, allowing them to slash just .199/.265/.288 in his career.

Cishek earned $6.5 million each of the last two seasons with the Cubs and figures to get a similar contract this offseason. He could certainly help boost the A's bullpen in 2020.

MLB playoffs full of former Giants looking for World Series title

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MLB playoffs full of former Giants looking for World Series title

Unless you count Joe Biagini, who left the Giants as a minor league Rule 5 pick and ended up finding success in Toronto, there are no old friends on the two best teams in the Majors.

The Astros and Dodgers might not have any former Giants headed to the postseason, but plenty of others do. You'll see them as you watch games this month, with some familiar faces throwing pretty big October innings. From Yusmeiro Petit to Drew Pomeranz, the MLB playoffs are littered with faces that used to call Oracle Park home.

Here are former Giants looking to win World Series this month