Baseball season is officially underway, as the league’s pitchers and catchers reported to their respective spring training stadiums on Feb. 17th. But perhaps the best pitching squad in the league is that of the San Francisco Giants, whose offseason decisions have shaped one of the best on-paper pitching rotations of the upcoming season.
Alongside veteran pitchers like Madison Bumgarner, Jake Peavy, and Chris Heston, Giants’ general manager Bobby Evans and manager Bruce Bochy added talent like Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto who have the ability to push the Giants’ rotation over the edge in this even-ending year.
“I’m super excited,” said Bumgarner in a recent interview. “Samardzija, we’ve seen what he can do. He had a rough year last year but I would never bet on that happening again. I was hoping we’d sign him before there was any talk about that. And Cueto, everybody’s seen what kind of pitcher he’s been for the Reds and Royals.”
Prior to his addition to the Giants, Samardzija pitched for the Chicago White Sox, where he earned statistics like a 4.96 ERA, two shutouts, and 163 strikeouts in his 32 games, all of which he started. While Samardzija’s ERA isn’t a particularly good statistic, it seems that Bumgarner is openly enthusiastic about his addition to the team.
“I just liked him — my kind of guy, I think,” Bumgarner said. “Being on the other side, he’s one of the few guys that I was really excited about and thought would be a good fit for us in our clubhouse and the way we like to play baseball.”
Similarly, Cueto’s 2015 statistics had some minor setbacks, also with his ERA, which came out to 4.76 upon the conclusion of regular season with the Kansas City Royals. However, Cueto proved his ability to perform under pressure, as his postseason numbers with the Royals contributed largely to their World Series title, particularly his 22 strikeouts in four games.
But perhaps the best aspect of these new additions is that they take some of the pressure off of Bumgarner, the hero/pitching ace of the Giants, who’s known for his ferocity on the mound. In the 2015 season alone, Bumgarner racked up statistics like a 2.93 ERA, and 234 strikeouts in 32 games.
“It doesn’t all have to fall on Madison now,” said Bochy. “We’ve got five healthy and experienced starters that will provide leadership on the day they pitch.”