SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants are close to adding depth on both the left and right sides of their bullpen with the signing of one free agent.
San Francisco expects to finalize a contract with ambidextrous switch-pitcher Pat Venditte and an announcement on a deal could come as soon as Thursday, according to a source. NBC Sports Bay Area first reported the two sides were close to an agreement.
Venditte is the only major league pitcher who throws from both the right and left side and he typically chooses the arm that gives him a platoon or statistical advantage. The 33-year-old appeared in 15 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and is the first former Dodgers pitcher to follow new Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi up north.
Former Dodgers prospect and outfielder Henry Ramos agreed to a minor league deal with San Francisco earlier this offseason.
The Giants non-tendered right-hander Hunter Strickland at the end of November and have received calls from several teams about trading some of their veteran relief arms. Zaidi didn’t say the Giants would pursue the high-profile options on the free agent market, but he did indicate that adding depth to the bullpen was an offseason priority at last week’s Winter Meetings.
Venditte is the second reliever to be added to the Giants roster this winter, joining left-hander Travis Bergen who was selected out of the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization in the Rule 5 Draft. The switch-pitcher is also the second former Creighton Jay player Zaidi has added in two weeks, as the Giants claimed outfielder Michael Gerber off waivers from the Detroit Tigers last week.
Venditte has three seasons of major league experience and debuted with the Oakland A’s in 2015. The former 20th round draft choice of the Yankees posted a 2.57 ERA in 15 appearances for the Dodgers in 2018.
Before he faces a batter, Venditte must declare which arm he will throw with throughout a plate appearance. The Omaha, Nebraska native has pitched with both arms since he was a child, but his coach at Creighton did not allow him to do so as a college freshman.
In 56 major league games, Venditte has been most successful in lefty-lefty matchups, limiting left-handed hitters to a .186 batting average in 113 at-bats.