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In the last few days, the Giants have come to agreements on minor league deals with 3 different relief pitchers and will have all three in camp battling to make their opening day roster.First, the Giants took on a project, a guy who hasn't thrown in the major leagues in a couple of years, Byung-Hyun Kim. The 31 year-old, submarine throwing right-hander was successful in the early 2000's with the Diamondbacks, and is most famous for blowing Rockies, D-Backs, and Marlins, carrying an ERA of 6.08 in 118 innings, also sporting a WHIP of 1.68. He was a starter for most of that season with the Florida, and surprisingly had a winning record (9-5) and really wasn't all that bad. He had a high WHIP due to a lot of walks, but he K'd nearly a batter per inning. The Giants will likely give him a shot to make their bullpen as a long-man, but I think the odds will likely be against him. The Giants look like they have about 5 bullpen roles that are basically guaranteed, and those are Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Brandon Medders, and Dan Runzler. That leaves 2 likely spots for a plethora of arms to battle for. If he doesn't make the team out of spring, he'd provide the Giant some depth in AAA as a guy who could come up and start a game for them, or move into the bullpen if needed.
A couple other arms that will join the battle for those final bullpen slots are right-hander Guillermo Mota and lefty Horacio Ramirez. The 30 year-old Ramirez will have a much tougher trail ahead of him than Mota will to make the club. He's is coming off a down year with Kansas City (5.96 ERA in 22 innings) and really hasn't been all that good since leaving the Braves after the 2006 season. Between '03-'06 with the Braves, he went 30-21 with a 4.37 ERA as a starter, but since leaving Atlanta, he's had an ERA of 6.74 and has won just 9 ballgames. Ramirez has had big-time injury problems over the last 3 seasons though and has thrown a combined 60 innings in that span. The Giants will give him a chance to make the bullpen out of spring, but I think he was brought in with the thought that he'll provide some depth at AAA and could be an emergency starter or a part-time bullpen-filler if the Giants need it during the season. Brian Sabean had said he would be on the lookout for possible options to start for the Giants, but I hope signing Ramirez is more for depth and insurance compared to being a legit option to start for the Giants.The guy I'm expecting the most out of from this trio in 2010 though is Guillermo Mota. I'm expecting Mota to actually earn a spot out of Spring Training, as he's got the track record that Bruce Bochy are seeking, and he's actually coming off a decent year with the Dodgers. The 36 year-old right-hander won 3 and lost 4 for the Dodgers in '09, but carried a respectable 3.44 era and 1.18 WHIP while opposing hitters hit just .224 against him. The one area that his game lacked a bit last year was the strikeout totals, which is a little concerning. He K'd just 39 batters in 65.1 innings of work after averaging over 8+ k's/9 innings throughout his career. If he has a good spring though, I'm definitely expecting him to break north with the team and quite possibly carry a prominent role in this bullpen. The only full-time bullpen guys from last year who posted an era below Mota's 3.44 mark was Brian Wilson (2.74), Jeremy Affeldt (1.73) and Brandon Medders (3.01).
Trevor Cole The Giants Baseball Blog