Ex-Detroit Tiger Matthew Boyd agrees to 1-year, $5.2 million deal with Giants

Detroit Free Press

When the Detroit Tigers visit San Francisco for a pair of games against the Giants on June 28-29, they may find an old friend waiting for them in black and orange.

Left-handed starter Matthew Boyd, a Tiger from 2015-21 and a free agent this offseason, agreed to a one-year, $5.2 million deal with the Giants late Wednesday night, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The deal also reportedly includes $2.3 million in incentives, bringing his potential paycheck to $7.5 million.

Boyd appeared in 147 games during his Tigers tenure, including 15 starts during the 2021 season. He posted a 3.89 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 78⅔ innings in 2021 before an arm injury shut down his season on Sept. 4. Boyd was later diagnosed with a injury to his left flexor tendon that required surgery. On Nov. 30, the Tigers opted to non-tender Boyd, who was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive $7.3 million in arbitration, making him a free agent just before the 99-day MLB lockout.

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Boyd underwent surgery soon after the 2021 season and was projected for a return to the big leagues by June 1.

“Arm feels great, elbow feels better than it ever has,” Boyd said in early February. “Because of where we’re at in the training, I’m able to push the needle a little bit more in terms of my body, just because I’m not trying to get into game shape just yet. I’m still trying to get stronger. I’m not on that bullpen schedule yet. That’s not going to happen for another month.”

Now, when he does return to the majors, it appears he’ll do so as a San Francisco Giant.

Boyd’s time in Detroit spanned parts of seven seasons; over that time, he went 37-60 with a 4.87 ERA, 752 strikeouts, 247 walks and 137 home runs allowed over 777⅔ innings.

The Washington state native joined the Tigers in July 2015 as part of a package, with fellow lefties Daniel Norris and Jairo Labourt, from the Toronto Blue Jays for left-hander David Price. Boyd, a sixth-round pick in 2013 out of Oregon State, finished that season with the Tigers, posting a 6.57 ERA over 11 appearances.

He started more than 30 games in a season with the Tigers just twice, in 2018 and 2019. The latter was arguably his best year with Detroit, as he struck out 238 batters over 185⅓ innings while walking 94. He also allowed an American League-high 39 home runs, leading to a 4.56 ERA and a 9-12 record. The following season, 2020, was his worst; Boyd was the Tigers’ Opening Day starter and made 12 starts in an abbreviated 60-game season, but he also led the majors with 45 earned runs and 15 homers allowed.

Still, he was the Opening Day starter for the Tigers in 2021, an honor he earned, manager AJ Hinch said, on the strength of his arm and his leadership.

“Having not been in the clubhouse with these guys before, you watch who gravitates to who,” Hinch said in March 2021. “One of the first pitchers to come out and watch another starting pitcher was Matt Boyd. Early in spring, he snuck into the dugout and watched his fellow pitchers.

“That is a symbol of a guy that gets it, that understands he’s got a big presence on our team. While he’s got to worry about this own performance and getting himself back on track to being the pitcher that he’s been in the past, I’ve appreciated how he’s approached his spring.”

Boyd opened 2021 with a 1.94 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 41⅔ innings in his first seven starts. But his next six were much less effective: a 5.79 ERA over 29 innings. That included his start on June 14 against the Kansas City Royals, in which he scattered five hits over 2⅓ innings before leaving with arm discomfort. He was later diagnosed with muscular tendinitis and missed 2½ months before returning on Aug. 29. That start, and his next — against the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 4 — were the last of his Tigers career.This story will be updated.

Free Press sports writer Evan Petzold contributed to this report.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.  

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