Jakob Junis would love Giants return in free agency for 2023 MLB season

·3 min read

Junis loves SF, would welcome return to Giants next season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

When Jakob Junis signed a one-year contract with the Giants in March, he told reporters he was "very, very happy" to end up in San Francisco.

Six months later, not much has changed in Junis' mind. If anything, he has fallen more in love with the city and the Giants.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old has one year of arbitration remaining, meaning the Giants can offer him a contract this offseason or non-tender him, making him a free agent.

If Junis has his way, he won't be going anywhere.

"If the Giants wanted to keep me, they could offer me a contract and I could be here one more year," Junis told NBC Sports Bay Area's Therese Viñal on "Summer Sunday" this weekend. "If not, then I would become a free agent. But hopefully I'm here again next year. I love it here and would love to stay."

A 29th-round draft pick by Kansas City in 2011, Junis spent parts of the previous five seasons with the Royals. His best years were 2017 and 2018, his first two seasons in the big leagues.

But like a lot of pitchers over the last few years, Junis has figured something out while pitching for the Giants.

In what is shaping up to be the best year of his MLB career, Junis has a 4.05 ERA in 18 appearances for the Giants this season (15 starts). His FIP entering Saturday's start against the Philadelphia Phillies was a career-best 3.83.

The Giants have Logan Webb, Alex Wood, Alex Cobb and Anthony DeSclafani signed for the 2023 season, but Carlos Rodón can opt out of his contract. So the Giants should be in the market for starting pitchers this winter.

And with injuries being a natural part of the game, Junis' value to the Giants as a depth starter is immense.

"I love it here," Junis told Viñal. "First of all, I love the city. I think it's one of the most beautiful cities in America. The weather, my gosh. You can't beat the weather. Pitching in this weather is unbelievable. And then just the team, it's a historic franchise. Like you said, a lot of good players have come through here. Buster [Posey], Tim Lincecum, these guys that have won World Series. There's been three World Series wins in the last 10-12 years.

"There's a lot of history and tradition here. Just to be part of this franchise, I've been lucky just to do it this year. Like I said, I would love to come back and play here as long as I can. From top to bottom, the staff, the players, everybody was so welcoming when I got here. It's just been great."

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The Giants' front office has a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason, but bringing Junis back should be one of their easier ones. He is making $1.75 million this season and shouldn't cost too much more in arbitration.

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