Originally written on SF Giants Nirvana  |  Last updated 1/26/12

According to Jerry Crasnick, the Giants signed RP Clay Hensley to a major-league contract (pending a physical). He gets a base salary of $750K, with up to $300K in incentives. This likely pushes Dan Runzler out of the Giants’ bullpen.

Hensley’s coming off a terrible season, having allowed 41 runs in 67.2 innings of work. His ERA (5.19) was poor, as were his peripherals (15.5% K rate, 10.1% BB rate). In spite of this, he was basically replacement level last year, at -0.2 rWAR and -0.1 fWAR.

Anyway, most of those innings came as a starter, and he was certainly better out of the bullpen (3.88 FIP/4.24 xFIP). Additionally, he’s just one year removed from a fantastic season: in 2010, Hensley posted a 2.16 ERA/2.87 FIP/3.34 xFIP across 75 innings of work, good for 1.5 wins above replacement. It looks like somewhat of an outlier, as his strikeout rate shot way up that year (and, of course, subsequently regressed), but I’d assume that’s — in large part — due to the fact that he didn’t make any starts that year. He’s had a solid career as a reliever (sub-3 ERA, in fact), though he’s durable enough to start on occasion.

In the end, this is a cheap solid move that adds depth to both the rotation and bullpen. The Giants’ rotation depth behind Eric Surkamp isn’t very appealing, and if his first taste of the majors was any indicator, Surkamp isn’t ready just yet. This helps.

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