Sabean questions pitching depth with no plans to add

Sabean questions pitching depth with no plans to add
January 31, 2014, 1:30 pm
Share This Post
I can’t tell you I have that confidence yet.
Brian Sabean on his pitching depth

SAN FRANCISCO -- A lack of rotation depth crippled the Giants last season. That depth will be a question mark again this spring.

And it won’t be remedied by any last-minute shopping, either. 

Giants GM Brian Sabean said the team would not revisit some of the unsigned free agents, including those like Bronson Arroyo who are not tied to draft-pick compensation. Yet Sabean acknowledged that he cannot say with any confidence that the team’s rotation depth is any better than it was a year ago.

“We don’t have the luxury to add a would-be experienced sixth starter,” Sabean said. “We’re at our limit, and we’re fine with that. … I’m pleased with where we landed. Once you have five starters, unless you’re flush with cash or there’s an opening, very few teams sign six starters with experience.”

Chad Gaudin filled in well enough for a time after Ryan Vogelsong went down. But when Gaudin got hurt, the Giants had to turn to Mike Kickham and Eric Surkamp, who weren’t ready. The Giants finished 13th out of 15 NL clubs in rotation ERA.

Young left-hander Edwin Escobar and right-hander Yusmeiro Petit look to be the fallbacks this time, with lefty David Huff, a waiver pickup from the Yankees, as another spot starting option. But Escobar hasn’t thrown a pitch above Double-A and Petit, for all he showed last September, has a limited track record of success over a much-traveled career.

When asked what makes Sabean any more confident in his depth this time around, the GM offered a frank response.

“I can’t tell you I have that confidence yet,” Sabean said. “We’ll find out in spring training, with the competition for the 12th spot on the staff and seeing how far the young starting pitchers have come. And to me, that’s exciting.”