Spring Battles: Long-Reliever

Who grabs the Guillermo Mota/Chad Gaudin fireman role this spring? As we’ve learned in recent years, this is a very valuable role. I’d say there are some qualified candidates here, but none of them have exactly blown the doors off as major leaguers.

Yusmeiro Petit | Age 29 on Opening Day

MLB: 282 IP, 44 GS, 5.20 ERA, 1.397 Whip, 2.49 K/BB

MiLB: 967.1 IP, 170 GS, 3.68 ERA, 1.132 Whip, 4.50 K/BB

Outlook: It’s probably safe to say the long-man job is Petit’s to lose this spring, but I wouldn’t call it a guarantee by any means that he wins it. He sure seemed to turn a corner late last season, but he’s had his share of ups and downs as a major leaguer. I do think he’ll win the roster spot out of camp, but he has to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke in order to make it happen.

Odds of making the Opening Day roster: 80%

David Huff | Age 29

MLB: 323 IP, 54 GS, 5.32 ERA, 1.498 Whip, 1.77 K/BB

MiLB: 664.2 IP, 115 GS, 3.78 ERA, 1.258 Whip, 2.98 K/BB

Outlook: Huff was acquired from the Yankees upon the Masahiro Tanaka signing. He made 14 MLB appearances in 2013 between Cleveland and New York, and hasn’t exactly had a successful MLB career to this point. He’s somewhat of a LH version of Yusmeiro Petit, relying on command and his offspeed stuff to get by. He’s much more effective against righties than lefties, so a middle-relief job is out of the picture. Like Petit, Huff is out of options, Will the Giants be able to keep him in the organization if he doesn’t make the 25-man? Probably not. But, it will be a situation worth following, that’s for sure.

Odds: 40%

Mike Kickham | Age 24

MLB: 28.1 IP, 3 GS, 10.16 ERA, 1.976 Whip, 2.90 K/BB

MiLB: 375.1 IP, 68 GS, 3.79 ERA, 1.340 Whip, 2.04 K/BB

Outlook: Kickham probably wasn’t ready for a big league promotion last summer, and the results showed it. He did look better in a relief role later in the season though. I’m sure the Giants still want to see if he can become a successful starter, but he’ll also likely get some looks in a long relief role this spring. I’d expect him in Fresno, but he’s still on the short list of emergency starters.

Odds: 25%

Mitch Lively | Age 28

MLB: None

MiLB: 439.2 IP, 20 GS, 18 Sv, 3.48 ERA, 1.262 Whip, 2.24 K/BB

Outlook: Drafted by Colorado in 2007, Lively made his first professional start last season in Fresno. Actually, he ended up making 20 starts in AAA, followed by 10 more in Venezuela this winter. His winter ball performance likely earned him the Spring Training invitation. He’s still very much a long shot to make the big league club, but he’s a NorCal native and a cool story no less.

Odds: 10%

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1 thought on “Spring Battles: Long-Reliever”

  1. I agree with you that Petit is the overwhelming front-runner.

    Much like with MI, I think the Giants is going with the guy with no options who has done well for them up to now, Petit. Particularly since the word from Sabean at the start of spring training is that a poor showing in spring will not sink his chances, that his performance in September last season will also be factored into the decision. Given how well he did for us in Sept, I don’t see how he don’t win the job barring injury or horrible performance.

    I see Huff in the Abreu role, the vet who is backup in case something happens to the front runner, whether injury or poor performance. And Kickham will have a slight open window if he can consolidate all the good he showed last season while minimizing the bad side he showed, but he still has options, so I don’t see any way he pushes Petit out if Petit is healthy, barring a second coming of Sandy Koufax.

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