One of Zaidi’s latest moves was to ship off RHP Jordan Johnson to the Cincinnati Reds for 26-year old utility infielder Connor Joe.
This is a classic Zaidi move, trading from an area of surplus (Johnson wasn’t going to see much, if any, time in the big leagues this year in San Francisco) to get a potentially undervalued asset that can help elsewhere.
Zaidi and his last team, the Dodgers, acquired players like Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and Max Muncy utilizing the same method. He clearly knows what he is looking for when he takes a flier on a player.
Granted, Joe has struggled in his minor league career up until last year, but last season finally showed why he was a first round pick in 2014. He hit 17 homers with a .299/.408/.527 across AA and AAA for the Dodgers, displaying the combination of a little pop and a discerning eye that the team has targeted this offseason. He was then drafted in the Rule 5 Draft by the Reds.
Moreover, he’s versatile. He’s played innings at first base, third base, right field, left field, and second base (in descending order of playing time). He will bring immediate competition to Alan Hansen and Pablo Sandoval, two players acquired by the “previous regime.”
Since he was a Rule 5 pick, and the Giants gave up an actual player to get him, it’s expected that he’ll break camp with the team. If he doesn’t make the club, he must be placed on outright waivers where any team can choose to pick him up. If he clears waivers, he must then be offered back to his original team.
It wouldn’t make sense to trade for him then let him go, so we’ll have to wait and see if he’s more Kelby Tomlinson or Chris Taylor for the Giants this year.