The San Francisco Giants traded Chris Stratton to the Los Angeles Angels just over a month ago. In return, they received left-handed reliever Williams Jerez.
In terms of significance, this could go down as a minor move between San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels when all is said and done.
For now, it still remains an interesting and potentially savvy transaction.
In 29.1 innings with the Angels spanning five starts and two relief appearances, Chris Stratton struggled to the tune of an 8.59 ERA, and it appears his tenure with the team has already come to an end:
Stratton could remain in the Angels organization if he goes unclaimed. However, he still possesses a devastating curveball, and some team might claim him as a reclamation project.
The way in which he was even traded to the Angels in the first place seems to be an under-the-radar move by Farhan Zaidi.
The 28-year-old pitched well during spring training, posting a 4.60 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work. That looked like it might be enough to earn a spot in the Giants bullpen, but Zaidi chose a different direction.
Since the rotation and bullpen were both full, Zaidi did not have the room to keep Stratton, who is out of minor league options. Rather than waiting until the end of spring training to designate him for assignment, Zaidi took a proactive approach.
He ended up flipping Stratton to the pitching-needy Angels in exchange for reliever Williams Jerez.
Jerez is appealing on two fronts:
First, he is a left-handed reliever, and similar to backup catchers, Zaidi never seems to never have enough left-handed relievers.
Second, he can be optioned back to the minors. This gives Zaidi the roster flexibility he didn’t have with Stratton.
To that point, the San Francisco Giants are exercising that flexibility today:
Jerez will likely make his way back to the Giants at some point this season. The Giants tend to carry an extra arm on road trips in case things go south with their starting pitching, so that will be something to keep an eye on going forward.
The 26-year-old Jerez has team control through the 2024 season, so if he can prove to be a decent bullpen option, he may carve out a role in the Giants bullpen for the next several seasons.
That’s what makes this a savvy deal. Zaidi effectively turned a player who was not going to make the team into a useful player that gives the Giants some roster flexibility.
Jerez’s career minor league stats include a 3.49 ERA, 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings, and 3.5 walks per nine innings. That lack of command was on display in his Giants debut as he walked two batters in one inning of mop-up duty, but he also showed some intriguing stuff.
As a left-handed reliever, Jerez will see plenty of opportunities if his stuff and strikeout numbers translate to the major leagues.
In the end, the trade was a move that seems relatively minor in nature, but Zaidi deserves credit for potentially getting positive value in exchange for an expendable piece.