The San Francisco Giants cast a wide net in their search for low-cost talent during the offseason, signing a number of veterans to minor league deals.
After hitting just .208/.322/.353 in 246 plate appearances for an 88 OPS+ and a 0.1 WAR in 83 games with the Oakland Athletics, Joyce found a limited market this past offseason.
At his peak, the 35-year-old was a steady contributor for the Tampa Bay Rays, peaking in 2011 when he posted a 131 OPS+ with 19 home runs and 13 steals en route to 3.4 WAR while landing a spot on the AL All-Star team.
That made him an intriguing under-the-radar addition for the San Francisco Giants.
However, he went just 8-for-43 (.186 BA) with 11 strikeouts and zero extra-base hits during spring training, and the Giants opted to go with Gerardo Parra and Yangervis Solarte for veteran bench spots.
Without a spot on the roster, Joyce could have accepted a minor league assignment as
Stephen Vogt did, but he was instead traded to the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations on March 23, completing a busy offseason.
When Adam Duvall was optioned to Triple-A to start the year, Joyce broke camp with the Braves as the team’s fourth outfielder behind Ronald Acuna Jr., Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis.
As the season has progressed, injuries have opened the door for him to see semi-regular playing time, and he’s made the most of that opportunity.
In 238 plate appearances, Joyce hit .295/.408/.450 with 10 doubles, seven home runs and 0.9 WAR, and there’s a good chance he will be in the starting lineup at some point during the team’s NLDS matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals.
In the end, it was what was best for everyone involved.
The San Francisco Giants got a longer look at guys like Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater and others, while Joyce has a chance to return to the postseason for the first time since 2013.
Expect to see a few more moves like this in the years to come as the San Francisco Giants continue to build toward the future.