San Francisco Giants Take a Flyer on Former Ranger Sam Dyson

Mar 22, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; United States pitcher Sam Dyson (47) pitches in the 7th inning against Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; United States pitcher Sam Dyson (47) pitches in the 7th inning against Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco Giants took a chance on a struggling player, acquiring relief pitcher, and former closer, Sam Dyson from the Texas Rangers.

The Texas Rangers designated former closer Sam Dyson for assignment on June 2nd, and set out to trade him. They did so on Tuesday, sending him to the San Francisco Giants, along with cash considerations, in exchange for a player yet to be named, or cash considerations.

Dyson has been terrible for the Rangers this season. He made 17 appearances for Texas, and somehow was the losing pitcher in six of those games, which is absolutely remarkable for a reliever. He gave up 23 runs (20 earned) and 43 baserunners (31 hits and 12 walks) in only 16.1 innings. There were six home runs allowed sprinkled in there, as well. In short, it’s no surprise that the Rangers were willing to part with Dyson for such a cheap exchange.

But Dyson’s awfulness has kind of come out of nowhere. From 2014 to 2016, he was an excellent reliever with both the Miami Marlins and the Rangers. In parts of two seasons with Texas, Dyson pitched to a 2.04 ERA and 1.125 WHIP, and saved 38 ballgames for a ballclub that won the American League West by nine games. Before that, he owned a 2.93 ERA and 1.326 WHIP in parts of two years with Miami.

He pitched so well over the previous three seasons that he was selected to represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic this spring. He made five appearances and threw six innings while wearing the red, white, and blue, and struck out four batters while not allowing a single hit or walk.

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Just a few months ago, Dyson was shutting down lineups to help his country, but that feels like a lot longer than a few months ago. He has looked nothing like that guy in 2017, and San Francisco is taking a chance on the 29-year-old righty.

This isn’t a season-saving trade, the kind of trade that a contender makes to help them during a playoff push. This is a risk, the type of trade that a bad team, like the Giants, can make. They’re taking a flyer on a pitcher that was one of the better relievers in the game a few short months ago, and seeing if the Dyson that threw to a 2.43 ERA over 187.2 innings from 2014 to 2016 is still in there.

If that pitcher is still in there, then the Giants get a player that can not only help stabilize a bullpen that has struggled this season, but into the future as well. They can get a late-inning setup man that can throw ahead of closer Mark Melancon. If he gets back to form working with Dave Righetti, Mark Gardner, and possibly even Dick Tidrow in San Francisco, he won’t be a free agent until after the 2020 season. San Francisco gets him for three more seasons in arbitration, so if it works out, they get three-and-a-half seasons of a good reliever for pretty much peanuts.

If it doesn’t work out, and the Dyson that owns a 10.80 ERA and 2.580 WHIP is the Dyson that just exists now, they can cut him or non-tender him after the season and wipe their hands of him. It’s basically the definition of a low-risk, potentially high-reward situation.

After Tuesday’s game, Giants’ catcher Buster Posey had some good reviews for the former Ranger. Posey, who caught Dyson during the WBC earlier this year, said the pitcher “obviously [has] great stuff”, and possesses “one of the best sinkers I’ve ever caught”. His sinker velocity is basically on par with the last few years, sitting around 95 miles per hour for the fourth straight season.

Dyson is expected to report directly to the big league club, but won’t join the team before the end of this roadtrip. Rather than make the flight to Milwaukee for a day game on Thursday, he will meet the club before Friday’s homestand-opening game against the Minnesota Twins. At that time, the Giants will have to make a roster decision to get him on the 25-man roster.

The team has already found a spot for him on the 40-man roster by transferring Madison Bumgarner from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Bumgarner is still on the same path in his rehab, and the move is retroactive to when he was first place on the disabled list.

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Dyson will have a chance to prove himself in the orange and black quite soon. If he comes up big, the Giants got a great deal. If not, it doesn’t really hurt anything.