Friday, December 11, 2015

Thoughts on Yusmeiro Petit

The Yusmeiro Petit era came to an end for the Giants 2 days ago with the announcement of his signing with the Washington Nationals.  Petit, who was arbitration eligible for the first time this year had not been tendered a contract by the Giants.  His estimated arbitration value was $2.5 M.  He signed a 1 year contract with the Nationals for $2.5 M with a $3 M team option for 2017 with a $500 K buyout, making the total deal worth a minimum of $3 M.  The $3 M option vests if he pitches 80 innings or more in 2016.

I did not realize that Yusmeiro Petit's first taste of the spotlight as a baseball player came as a 10 year old in 1994 when he was a member of the Little League World Series championship team from Venezuela.  He signed a professional contract with the New York Mets in 2001.  As he worked his way up the minor league ladder with the Mets, he came to the attention of the Sabermetric Community for his double digit K/9's coupled with sub-2.00 BB/9's.  His scouting reports were not as enthusiastic.

He was traded to the Marlins in November 2005 in the trade for Carlos Delgado(man, is 2005 THAT long ago?).  He was traded to the D'Backs in 2007.  He was given multiple chances to pitch at the MLB level and never quite broke through, although he did take a no-hitter into the 8'th inning against the Pirates in 2009.  He continued to mostly struggle and by 2011 was pitching in the Mexican League.    The Giants signed him to a minor league contract for the 2012 season.

Petit pitched well for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies in 2012 and was called up for a single spot start in September after the Giants had clinched the NL West title.  He allowed 2 runs in 4.2 IP.  He continued to pitch well for the Grizzlies in 2013 and was called up in August when the Giants needed an additional arm in the rotation.  Then, on September 6, 2013, Petit memorably came within 1 out of pitching a perfect game against his former team, the Arizona D'Backs.  In the process, he became the 12'th pitcher in MLB history to come within 1 out of a perfect game.

Petit became an important cog in the Giants 2014 championship run pitching long relief and making spot starts.  At one point, he set a MLB record by retiring 46 consecutive batters over several relief appearances.  His greatest moment as a Giant came in the 2014 NLDS against the Washington Nationals.  Playing Game 2 in Washington, the Giants had tied the score 1-1 in the top of the 9'th inning and the game went into extra innings.  As the home team in an extra-inning game, the Nationals still seemed to have the upper hand, but the Giants had an ace in the hole in Petit that the Nationals did not have.  Petit entered the game in the 12'th inning.  For 6 innings, facing a lineup that included a red hot Bryce Harper and knowing the game could be lost with any single pitch, he proceeded to hold the Nationals scoreless.  Brandon Belt hit a HR off Tanner Roark in the top of the 18'th inning and well, you know the rest!  Upon the completion of the Giants championship run, Yusmeiro Petit became the first player to win both a Little League World Series and a MLB World Series.

Despite his heroics in 2014, Bruce Bochy seemed reluctant to use Petit in anything but long relief roles in games the Giants were losing in 2015.  Despite a dip in his strikeout numbers, Petit ended the season with an ERA of 3.67, .02 better than 2014.  Despite that, the Giants chose not to pay his rising salary dictated by the arbitration process.  The memory of those 6 innings in the 2014 NLDS is apparently still fresh enough in the minds of the Nationals, they were willing to spend the money on him.  I am happy for Yusmeiro Petit.  It may not seem like much by today's MLB standards, but he is finally getting the chance to earn some well deserved financial security for himself and his family after all these years in professional baseball.  Yusmeiro Petit was a very good Giant who will and should be long remembered!


  1. My brother and I were at the game in 2012. We had hoped to see the Giants clinch, but since they had done so the day before we saw Petit and basically a AAA team on the field. I recall following Petit in AAA but had no idea he would play a critical role in winning another championship. I was also watching on tv as Petit came within one out of his perfect game. The Dbacks sent up Eric Chavez and after reaching a full count, it was obvious that Petit was not going to give in and pitch around Chavez. He threw something Chavez could hit, which he did. I also watched on tv as Petit set the scoreless inning streak. If my memory serves, after setting the record didn't he give up a hit to the very next batter, who was the pitcher? If he hadn't come through in the playoff game against the Nats, a performance that Krukow calls six consecutive bottom of the 9ths, we might not have gone on to win the Championship. Petit was a good Giant and he will be missed. APGiantsfan

  2. Petit resurrected his career as a Giant and thank god he did he will be missed.

  3. Thanks DrB! Great recap and tribute to a good Giant who will live on in the record books for a long while. Particularly reclaiming the consecutive batter record, which Jim Barr had held for a long while before someone passed him, a Dodger I believe. He did incredible stuff for us, but as Evans said, it hurts to move on, but sometimes you need to.

    Thanks to Yusmeiro Petit, hope he does well except against the Giants (or when what he does helps his team get ahead of the Giants).

  4. Petit was a great (and extremely important Giant), but the Giants have a growing history over the past 6+ years of finding Yusmeiro Petit's when they need to find them. I'm not overly worried about replacing him (maybe Chris Heston?), but he will be missed.

    Andy, No longer in San Diego