SAN FRANCISCO (AP)Ross Stripling made quite the memorable major league debut in San Francisco a while back with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
Manager Dave Roberts pulled him with a no-hitter going in the eighth inning and called the decision a ”no-brainer” afterward.
The 33-year-old Stripling figures to soon be pitching many more innings in that waterfront ballpark.
Stripling reached agreement on a $25 million, two-year contract with the Giants on Tuesday. The free agent right-hander still calls that outing on April 8, 2016, of the most unique days of his baseball life.
”Man, it never gets old. That was seven years ago now, which is crazy, just how special that was. I think about it all the time,” he recalled. ”Still get asked about it all the time, `Do you think you could have finished it?’ Or `Are you still made at Dave Roberts?’ All this kind of stuff, which I’m not.”
”It was just like a perfect combination of some of the craziest things that have ever happened. Just a crazy game and an awesome debut and will go down as a top-3, -4, -5 memory for me in my career, he said.
Stripling, who went 10-4 for Toronto last season, is now eager to be part of a San Francisco rotation featuring Logan Webb, newcomer Sean Manaea, Alex Cobb and Alex Wood. Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi has told Stripling that’s the plan.
”I expect to start. I had a good year as a starter. I feel like the couple times I’ve gotten a runway as a starter in the big leagues where I kind of knew my position in the rotation as a starter was safe is when I’ve done the best,” Stripling said in a video call. ”I made an All-Star game in 2018 with the Dodgers and then this year with Toronto and I knew they basically didn’t have anyone and they gave me some runway and I was able to do well.”
Stripling’s contract includes a $5 million signing bonus, half payable in March and half in March 2024, and salaries of $7.5 million next season and $12.5 million in 2024. He can opt out within three days of next year’s World Series.
Stripling considers his unpredictability as a strength because even an opponent’s third time through the batting order shouldn’t make it easy to figure him out. He made big strides with his changeup this year, utilizing the pitch far more regularly against right-handed hitters.
”Kind of kitchen sink from pitch one where I keep hitters off balance by throwing anything in any count,” he said.
Stripling had Giants manager Gabe Kapler as his minor league coordinator with the Dodgers, San Francisco outfielder Joc Pederson as a roommate in the Los Angeles farm system and Zaidi as general manager.
Last season, Stripling set career highs of 10 wins, a 3.01 ERA, 24 starts and 134 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays. He went 9-4 with a 2.92 ERA as a starter and also 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in eight relief outings.
Stripling’s deal also calls for an annual donation of $62,500 to the Giants Community Fund.
Right-hander Miguel Yajure cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Triple-A Sacramento, clearing room on the 40-man roster for Stripling.
AP freelance writer Michael Wagaman contributed.
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