Yesterday brought some good news for my San Francisco Giants: Two-time All Star pitcher Brad Penny cleared waivers Monday and is signing with the team. The 31-year-old Penny has struggled with injuries the past two years, but won 32 games between 2006-07 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a Number 4 or 5 starter for the Giants, I think Penny could thrive. At the very least, he should make an adequate fill-in for an injured Randy Johnson.
Penny is far from the first veteran pitcher rescued off the scrap heap by the Giants for the stretch run. Off the top of my head, here are three experienced hurlers they’ve brought in July or later:
- Steve Carlton, signed as a free agent, July 4, 1986: This one didn’t work out so great. The Giants signed Carlton two weeks after his release from the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he’d won 241 games the preceding 15 years. The 40-year-old Carlton went a meager 1-3 for the Giants with a 5.10 ERA and was released in early August.
- Rick Reuschel, acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, August 21, 1987: This, on the other hand, worked out brilliantly. Reuschel went 5-3 in helping the Giants to the 1987 National League Championship Series, then went on to win 36 games the next two years and start the 1989 All-Star Game at age 40.
- Danny Darwin, acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, July 31, 1997: The bigger names in this trade were Wilson Alvarez and Roberto Hernandez and the Giants gave up a slew of prospects, including Keith Foulke and Bobby Howry to get them. Nevertheless, the trade helped them to the ’97 divisional playoffs (where they promptly fell to the Florida Marlins.) Darwin also started 25 games the following year for San Francisco at age 42.