Giants Land a Lefty in Sean Manaea

It’s been a mixed offseason for the San Francisco Giants. San Francisco did add power bat Mitch Haniger to its lineup, and Joc Pederson accepted his qualifying offer to return to the Bay Area. On the other hand, Carlos Rodón tested the free agent market, and the Giants failed to lure Aaron Judge back to California. The Giants do continue to add to its roster, as the team has reportedly agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea. For Manaea, the former Padre will stay in the NL West, and look to rebound after a difficult 2022 season.

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A Look at Manaea

A former first-round pick by the Royals in 2013, Sean Manaea made his debut with the Athletics in 2016. Over six seasons with the Athletics, Manaea went 50-41 with a 3.86 ERA and 107 ERA+. Arguably Manaea’s best season came in 2021, a year that saw the lefty strike out 194 over 179. innings. Manaea also led the league in complete game shutouts (2) in that season.

The left-hander was traded this past spring to the Padres, as the A’s continue a massive re-build. Manaea joined a stacked rotation that included Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell. Things, however, did not work for Manaea in San Diego. Manaea’s ERA ballooned to 4.96 in 2022, while his walk and strikeout numbers both went in the wrong direction. The lefty had been susceptible to hard-hit contact in 2021, as 25 home runs were hit off of Manaea that season. That issue worsened in 2022. Opposing batters hit 29 dingers off of the 30-year old. Not to mention, over 40% of the balls put in play on the Indiana native were to the pull side, an indication that hitters weren’t exactly fooled by Manaea’s stuff.

Sean Manaea has three main pitchers, a fastball, changeup, and slider. Manaea’s fastball is one with below-average spin and velocity. Manaea’s changeup, which was used about 25% of the time last season, only has about a six MPH average difference between it and the fastball. Batters hit .301 off the changeup in 2022.

What it Means for the Giants

In our look at the best destinations for Carlos Rodón, we mentioned that the Giants were in need of some depth in the starting rotation. Prior to this signing, the Giants’ rotation options included Logan Webb, a resurgent Alex Cobb, Anthony DeSclafani, and Jakob Junis. While Manaea is not the caliber of pitcher that Rodón is, the lefty has had a plethora of success throughout this career.

Manaea is not a front-line starter, but his three-pitch mix, along with good extension metrics, are most likely what drew San Francisco towards the former Athletic. This is just a two-year deal, thus reducing the risk and giving the Giants the opportunity to get value out of left-handed starter who has had success in the Bay Area, albeit in the green and yellow.

Now, does this team that the Giants are out on Rodón? Not necessarily, given Rodón’s caliber and the fact that San Francisco could use all the pitching help it can get to compete with Los Angeles and San Diego. But, it does give San Francisco another rotation should Rodón leave the Bay Area in 2023. The Giants have done well with refining pitchers over the past few years, and Manaea could benefit from that.

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