Giants sign Alex Wood to one-year contract

January 15th, 2021

The Giants secured a veteran left-handed starter to balance out their rotation on Thursday, signing to a one-year, $3 million deal that includes an additional $3 million in performance bonuses.

Wood, a former Dodgers pitcher, will reunite with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who previously served as Los Angeles’ general manager. An All-Star in 2017, Wood has logged a 3.45 ERA over 188 appearances (138 starts) in eight Major League seasons with the Braves, Dodgers and Reds.

The 30-year-old Wood dealt with shoulder issues last year and pitched primarily in relief for the Dodgers, posting a 6.39 ERA over 12 2/3 innings in the regular season. He finished the shortened 2020 season on a high note, tossing two perfect innings against the Rays in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series to help the Dodgers secure their first championship in 32 years.

“I’ve seen him at his best,” Zaidi said during a Zoom call with reporters. “When he has the health to go out there every fifth day, he can be a really important and valuable part of a starting rotation. What was encouraging about Alex last year, despite the fact that he did have a couple of health setbacks, is he finished the season really strong. He pitched incredibly well in the playoffs, including in the World Series.

“For me, watching him pitch like that in the playoffs was really reminiscent of when I've seen him at his best. ... We have a lot of optimism that he can carry that into 2021, and be a really important part of our rotation next year.”

Wood is poised to join right-handers Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Logan Webb in the Giants’ rotation in 2021. Tyler Beede is also expected to enter the mix once he completes his recovery from Tommy John surgery, likely around May.

The Giants had been looking to add more lefty options after losing Drew Smyly, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Suárez this winter, making Wood a natural fit for Zaidi, who first acquired the southpaw as part of a three-team, 13-player trade between the Dodgers, Braves and Marlins in 2015. 

“I'm glad that this time the acquisition was a little simpler, a one-year Major League contract,” Zaidi said, chuckling. “The trade that we made with the Braves to acquire him in L.A. had a lot of moving parts to it, so this is a much more straightforward transaction.”

Zaidi went on to cite Wood’s “funk, deceptiveness and competitiveness” as the key traits that made him an attractive target again this year.

“He’s actually most effective when he keeps the ball down,” Zaidi said. “That's a little bit in contrast to where the game has been going, with an emphasis on getting swings-and-misses up in the zone with elevated fastballs. He's got an unusual delivery, a deceptive delivery, and a type of pitching style that's becoming a little bit less common. I think all those things really work to his favor.”

Wood will earn bonuses for games pitched in which he records 10 or more outs, including $125,000 for 12 and 14 such games, $250,000 for 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 such games and $500,000 for 26, 28 and 30 such games. Zaidi said the structure of the contract was meant to offer some protection for Wood in case he’s used as a bulk-innings pitcher behind an opener.

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The Giants now have 40 players on their 40-man roster.