The Giants have signed right-hander Phoenix Sanders to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com. He’s been assigned to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats.
Sanders, 28 next month, was a Rays draft pick in 2017 and made his way to the majors with that club last year. He got into eight games out of Tampa’s bullpen, logging 14 2/3 innings with a 3.07 ERA. He struck out 21.1% of batters faced and walked 5.3%, getting grounders on 41.5% of balls in play. He also tossed 30 innings for their Triple-A club with a 5.40 ERA though his 3.91 FIP suggests some bad luck, supported by his .388 batting average on balls in play and 67.5% strand rate. He stuck out 27.9% of opponents at that level against a walk rate of just 1.6%.
The Rays put Sanders on waivers in August and he was claimed by the Orioles. They kept him in the minors and then passed him through waivers in September. He made nine appearances for their Triple-A team to start this year with an ERA of 2.00, striking out 31.4% of batters faced while walking 8.6%. Despite those solid results, he was released last week but has quickly found his next job with the Giants.
The bullpen hasn’t been a strong part of the roster in San Francisco this year, as the club’s relievers have a collective 4.90 ERA. That places them 28th out of the 30 teams in the league, ahead of just the White Sox and the A’s. Sanders will head to Sacramento and try to work his way back to the big leagues. If he succeeds, he still has options and less than a year of service time, allowing him to be utilized as a depth reliever for the foreseeable future.