San Francisco Giants: Yusmeiro Petit Moving on, but Leaving Memories


On Wednesday, free agent pitcher Yusmeiro Petit agreed to a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, just a few days after the San Francisco Giants non-tendered him.

Moving forward into 2016, the San Francisco Giants will be without a player who, over the past three seasons, has played a vital, yet quite undefined role for the team. After being non-tendered earlier in December, Yusmeiro Petit will spend 2016 as a member of the Washington Nationals. Petit has been the quintessential swingman during his tenure with the Giants, but despite never having a clear place, he was always there at a moment’s notice.

Petit came to the Giants in 2012 as a prototypical journeyman. The Venezuelan-born pitcher signed with the New York Mets in 2001 as an 18-year-old international free agent, but never made it to the big leagues in New York before being traded to the Florida Marlins in 2005. In 2006, he made his major league debut with the Marlins, but struggled mightily. Before the 2007 season began, he was traded again, this time to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Petit would spend three seasons in the desert, bouncing between Triple-A, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, and the Diamondbacks’ rotation. His biggest highlight with Arizona came on August 4th, 2009, when Petit took a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates into the eighth inning before allowing a leadoff single to Ronny Cedeno. That would be the only hit he’d allow in eight shutout innings of work.

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After that season, his journey continued. The Seattle Mariners claimed Petit off waivers, sent him to the minor leagues, released him, and signed him back again a little over a week later. After spending the entire 2010 season in the minor leagues, Petit moved on to pitch in the Mexican League in 2011. Ahead of the 2012 season, the Giants brought him in on a minor league contract. Petit spent most of the 2012 season in the minor leagues, making one spot start late in the year after the team clinched the National League West title, but would go on to enjoy his most success in the coming years.

2013 was the beginning of Petit’s run as a serviceable and dependable pitcher on Bruce Bochy‘s staff. His role was never clearly defined and he was often called upon in tight spots, but he was always ready and nearly always came through.

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Petit’s first big moment as a Giant came on September 6th, 2013. As an injury replacement in the rotation, Petit faced his former team, the Diamondbacks, and came within a pitch of etching his name permanently in the history books. After retiring the first 26 batters of the game, Petit faced pinch-hitter Eric Chavez, just one batter away from throwing a perfect game. However, on a 3-2 pitch, Chavez lined a base hit into right field, falling just in front of the diving Hunter Pence. Petit finished the game, notching his first career complete game and shutout.

In 2014, Petit set a major league record by retiring 46 consecutive batters. On July 22nd, the streak began when Petit forced Philadelphia Phillies’ outfielder Grady Sizemore to ground out to end the fifth inning. Over his next six outings, all as a reliever, Petit retired all 37 hitters he faced, leaving him eight batters shy of breaking the record when he made a spot start on August 28th. Against the Colorado Rockies, Petit retired each of the first eight batters of the game, five via strikeout, to surpass Mark Buehrle‘s record of 45.

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Would the SF Giants be interested in a reunion with a fan favorite pitcher?
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  • In the 2014 postseason, Petit made his playoff debut in game two of the National League Division Series against the Nationals when he entered a 1-1 game in the 12th inning. Petit would go on to throw six spectacular innings, shutting out the Nats while allowing just four batters to reach base and striking out seven. For his efforts, Petit earned the win when San Francisco scored in the top of the 18th inning on Brandon Belt‘s awesome bat drop home run. Never before had a reliever win been so well-earned.

    Petit’s lack of a defined role never overshadowed the big moments that he had. Even while yo-yoing back-and-forth, Petit was always steady and reliable. Without his efforts in 2014, the Giants may not have won the World Series. Without Petit in 2015, the Giants’ pitching staff likely would have been a bigger mess than it actually was. He was never the premier guy, but what he did can not be overlooked.

    Next: How the Giants Can Contend in 2016

    In Washington, Petit may again have an unclear role. Even if he never makes a mark in Washington, he’s left some great lasting memories with the Giants, including one that already came in the nation’s capital.