Giants sign Jake McGee
The Giants are kind of stuck in a tough spot right now, as they are not a franchise that is typically keen on rebuilding but they are also well aware of the competition presented in their division with the Dodgers and Padres. So they haven’t made any big splashes this winter, but they’ve quietly put together a solid team that could be ready to pounce if and when their opportunity arises. They continued to play that role on Tuesday by bringing in left-handed reliever Jake McGee on a two-year deal worth $7 million.
McGee has sort of been all over the map in his career, both in location and performance. The southpaw started out in Tampa Bay, where you may remember him from his days closing for the Rays. From there he went to the Rockies, where things never worked out, and he had kind of fallen by the wayside. But then in the shortened 2020, he came back in a big way. Pitching for the Dodgers in 2020, McGee struck out 42 percent of opponents while walking just four percent, pitching to a 2.66 ERA and a 1.67 FIP. The Giants are betting that a good chunk of that will carry over to 2021, and they’re not really betting all that much. He joins an interesting bullpen that lacks a true ninth inning option, and should compete for saves.
As for the Red Sox, McGee wasn’t entirely on my radar this winter, though he would have made sense as a target. It would seem that they’re done adding to their bullpen, especially if this Hirokazu Sawamura signing goes through as expected. There’s an argument to be made for preferring McGee over Adam Ottavino, too, particularly at the relative prices, but McGee doesn’t come with a prospect. I’m relatively high on Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor, so I’m not super concerned about lefties in the bullpen, so while I think McGee is a good signing here I also think the Red Sox did okay without targeting him.
Marlins sign Adam Duvall
Speaking of teams in good divisions, the Marlins were the surprise playoff team in 2020, but in a longer season without an expanded field, I’d bet against them returning. In fact, I think there’s probably a good argument for them being the worst team in the division. They are adding on the peripheries, though, most recently bringing in former Braves outfielder Adam Duvall on a one-year deal worth $2 million with a mutual option for 2022.
Duvall is the kind of role player that can make a good team great, but I struggle to see how well he’ll fit on a mediocre team that requires him to play nearly every day. He has, to be fair, been quite good the last two seasons with Atlanta, putting up wRC+’s of 121 and 116, respectively. However, those have come in part-time platoon roles as he is a lefty masher. In fact, he has just 339 plate appearances combined over the last two seasons. With Miami, he may be overextended, though at just $2 million it is not as if they are betting big on him. If it doesn’t work out, it’s an easy price to eat.
The Red Sox were looking for a right-handed outfielder early in the offseason and it seemed as though Duvall could make sense, but they opted instead for Hunter Renfroe. Given where the Red Sox are, I think that’s a defensible decision. I would bet on Duvall being the better platoon option in 2021, but Renfroe has the upside we’ve discussed at times this winter, and the potential for long-term control. If Boston was in a championship window, Duvall would make more sense. But where they are now, it’s wholly justifiable to play for the upside and longer-term contributions than the immediate production, especially since that immediate production would still be in a part-time role.