As the San Francisco Giants continue to search for answers, Tuesday was a busy day of roster shuffling.
The San Francisco Giants have not been shy about making roster moves in the early going this season, and that was never more evident than in the hours leading up to their series opener with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.
All told, there are three new faces on the active roster—outfielder Mac Williamson, infielder Donovan Solano and reliever Williams Jerez.
So how did we get to here?
Let’s take a quick run through the day’s moves by answering a few questions:
How was the roster room created?
In order to add those three players to the 25-man roster, three spots needed to be created at the MLB level and two spots needed to be opened up on the 40-man roster.
That was accomplished by designating infielder/outfielder Yangervis Solarte and reliever Pat Venditte for assignment, and optioning outfielder Mike Gerber back to Triple-A.
Solarte was hitting just .205/.247/.315 for a 53 OPS+ in 78 plate appearances after making the team out of spring training as a non-roster invitee. Venditte allowed four hits, two walks, three hit batters and six earned runs in 3.1 innings.
Gerber, 26, earned a promotion last week after hitting .357/.402/.655 with seven doubles and six home runs in 92 plate appearances at Triple-A. He went just 1-for-15 with nine strikeouts in four games before he was returned to Sacramento.
What do the newcomers bring to the table?
Giants fans are plenty familiar with Mac Williamson after he spent parts of the past four seasons on the MLB roster.
He’s always shown intriguing power potential, but he hit just .222/.295/.386 in 339 plate appearances in the big leagues heading into the season, and that led to him being designated for assignment at the end of spring training.
The 28-year-old cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A to start the year where he’s been on an absolute tear, hitting .378/.459/.756 with nine home runs and 22 RBI in 23 games. That includes a three-homer game on Monday that finally forced the team’s hand on a promotion.
Williamson should be given every chance to win the starting left field job the way he’s swinging the bat, and with team control through 2023, he can still be a long-term piece.
Since he was removed from the 40-man roster already this year, if the Giants decide to move on from Williamson again, he can reject his minor league assignment and instead opt for free agency this time around.
Solano, 31, fits the prototypical utility infielder mold, with experience playing second base, shortstop, third base and left field at the MLB level.
He last played in the majors in 2016 with the New York Yankees, but was off to a solid start in Triple-A with a .322/.392/.437 line in 97 plate appearances. He’ll take over the role previously filled by Solarte.
Jerez, 26, was already on the 40-man roster after being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels during the offseason in exchange for out-of-options right-hander Chris Stratton.
The 6’4″ left-hander can touch 97 mph with his fastball and he throws a good splitter that makes him effective against righties as well as lefties. He has a 2.40 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 15 innings on the year while holding opposing hitters to a .183 average.
Will Smith and Tony Watson are both prime candidates to be dealt this summer, so Jerez could be auditioning to take over as the primary lefty in the bullpen in 2020.
Was there any other notable transaction news?
Funny you should ask. Yes, there was.
Veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week, but he rejected an outright assignment to Triple-A and opted instead for free agency. He’s now free to sign anywhere, though his .198 average won’t exactly make him a hot commodity.
The Giants also reportedly signed second baseman Will Maddox from the independent league’s Sugar Land Skeeters.
An 18th-round pick by the Tigers in 2014, Maddox hit .300/.342/.398 with 26 extra-base hits in 434 plate appearances with the team’s Double-A affiliate last season.
He was assigned to Double-A Richmond and will give the team some additional middle infield depth after the promotion of Solano and DFAs of Solarte and Breyvic Valera.
Are the Giants done making moves?
Not by a long shot.
Expect days like today to be commonplace all season as the front office continues to explore creative, low-cost ways to bolster the roster.
That’s what rebuilding teams do.
Finding one diamond in the rough will make all the shuffling through fringe level major leaguers worthwhile, it just takes some patience.