Prior to tonight’s game against the Dodgers, the Giants announced that they had placed left-hander Scott Alexander on the 15-day injured list with a strained left hamstring, with MLB.com noting that the veteran reliever will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2023 season, not just the minimum 15 days that would allow Alexander to return in time for the NLDS should the Giants manage to sneak into a postseason spot. Replacing Alexander on the club’s active roster is outfielder Heliot Ramos, who has slashed .208/.269/.354 in 20 games with the Giants this year.
After posting a dominant 1.04 ERA in 17 1/3 innings of work during his first season in San Francisco last year, the 33-year-old lefty returned to less impressive results, with a 4.66 ERA in 48 1/3 innings this year. That being said, his 3.26 FIP is more than a full run lower than his ERA, indicating that there may be some bad luck baked into his below average (92 ERA+) run prevention numbers. Overall, Alexander sports a 3.70 ERA and 3.16 FIP in 72 career appearances with the Giants. A free agent at the end of the season, Alexander figures to be one of the more reliable left-handed relief options on the open market this offseason.
Alexander isn’t the only Giants arm dealing with injury woes of late, however, as right-hander Jakob Junis exited tonight’s game due to what the club has described as neck tightness, per MLB.com’s Maria I. Guardado. After an uneven first season in San Francisco last year during which he posted a 4.42 ERA with a 3.65 FIP over 112 innings of work, Junis has settled into a versatile relief role where he mixes between long relief and single-inning appearances. In this role, he’s posted a 3.93 ERA across 84 2/3 innings with a strong 26.2% strikeout rate against a walk rate of just 5.8%. Like Alexander, Junis figures to hit the open market this offseason, and could receive interest as both a starter and a reliever.
As discussed by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, injury situations aren’t the only issues plaguing the Giants this late in the season. Catcher Patrick Bailey, who has caught more games this season than ever before in his career, told Slusser that at this point in the season that he is “experiencing more fatigue than [he’s] ever felt before,” a situation that’s surely factoring into the 24-year-old rookie’s downturn in performance in recent weeks. Dating back to the middle of August, Bailey has slashed a meager .174/.245/.244 with a 34% strikeout rate in his last 94 trips to the plate. Slusser adds that Bailey’s typically strong defense has also taken a hit recently, as he’s committed three errors and allowed four passed balls in the month of September.
Looking ahead to 2024, the backup catcher position figures to be something of a question mark for the Giants, with Bailey having caught 82% of the club’s games since being called up back in May. Former top prospect Joey Bart and Rule 5 draft pick Blake Sabol both figure to be internal options available to San Francisco, though it would hardly be a surprise to see the club pursue a more established back-up option like Victor Caratini or Tom Murphy in free agency to help ease Bailey into the workload of a wire-to-wire big league season.