SF nearing deal to bring back Wood (source)

November 23rd, 2021

The Giants are making moves to keep the party going in their starting staff, nearing a two-year deal with left-hander Alex Wood, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. The club has not confirmed the move. The news came shortly after San Francisco announced it was bringing back Anthony DeSclafani on a three-year pact.

Wood authored a strong rebound season in 2021 after signing a one-year deal with the Giants ahead of his age-30 campaign. He threw 138 2/3 innings over 26 starts and went 10-4 with a 3.83 ERA (107 ERA+), while striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings with a 3.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The lefty allowed no more than two earned runs 18 times and also tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Dodgers.

Wood’s slider was the highlight of his three-pitch mix, which also includes a sinker and changeup. The offering yielded a .184 average and accounted for 91 of his 152 strikeouts.

While not a hard thrower (91.8 mph average fastball velocity in 2021), Wood has succeeded in part by avoiding damaging contact. He has repeatedly posted ground-ball rates above 50%, thereby limiting barrels -- balls that typically result in extra-base hits. In 2021, Wood’s 5.3% barrel rate put him in the 86th percentile of MLB pitchers.

Wood’s biggest issue over his nine-year career has been health, including several trips to the injured list since 2016. Back and shoulder injuries -- plus the pandemic -- limited him to 48 1/3 innings between 2019-20, and Wood has not exceeded 152 1/3 innings in a season since 2015.

Yet when Wood has been healthy, he has been effective. He owns a 3.50 career ERA in nearly 1,000 innings for the Braves, Dodgers, Reds and Giants, staying below the 3.90 mark in all seven seasons in which he has thrown 40-plus innings. Wood’s finest performance came for Los Angeles in 2017, when he went 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA to capture his lone All-Star selection and place ninth in the NL Cy Young Award race.