San Francisco Giants team president Farhan Zaidi aggressively played the waiver wire throughout the 2019 season. That led to some forgettably short-tenured players.
The San Francisco Giants routinely turned over the final few spots on their 40-man roster during the 2019 season, making waiver claims left and right in the process.
Many of the players that Farhan Zaidi added were recognizable names, but given the rate at which the moves were made, it was easy to forget a name or two along the way who the team tried to pass through waivers.
This process is nothing new.
It seems like every year, when the season comes to a close, there are always one or two players that leave me scratching my head and thinking: “Oh yea, he did play in the Giants organization that year.”
For example, who remembers when Dontrelle Willis tried to resurrect his career with the San Francisco Giants back in 2010? And then again in 2014?
Well, he did. He pitched 7.1 innings between two minor league affiliates in 2010 and then threw 0.2 innings with Triple-A Sacramento in 2014.
Need more examples? Remember when Kyle Drabek tried to become a hitter with the Giants back in 2016? Or when Jordan Schafer attempted to turn himself into a pitcher in 2018? Both players attempted those transitions, and both did it as members of the Giants organization.
This season, the Giants cycled through so many players that it was genuinely hard to keep track of them all. However, two names stand out above the rest in terms of total randomness: Ryan Dull and Aaron Altherr.
Dull, 30, spent parts of five seasons in the Oakland Athletics bullpen, making his MLB debut on Sept. 1, 2015.
He put together a very strong season in 2016 when he recorded a 2.42 ERA with 15 holds in 70 appearances and 73 strikeouts in 74.1 innings. All told, he appeared in 167 games during his time in Oakland, logging a 4.08 ERA in 167.2 innings, though he struggled to a 12.00 ERA with 19 hits and 12 earned runs allowed in nine innings in 2019 before he was designated.
He held down a spot on the 40-man roster until he was designated for assignment at the beginning of August. With the Giants looking to build up bullpen depth after trading away multiple arms at the deadline, Zaidi placed a claim and he joined the Giants organization on Aug. 5.
His tenure in the San Francisco organization was so brief that I had to check his Baseball Reference page to confirm that it actually happened, and that I did not make it up in some weird dream.
He wound up making just two appearances with the team’s Triple-A affiliate, yielding three runs across three innings before being designated for assignment again. He proved to be a popular pitcher on the waiver wire circuit, as he was also claimed by the New York Yankees before finishing the season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
On the offensive side of things, Altherr also spent much of the 2019 season changing uniforms.
The 28-year-old was a ninth-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, and he made his MLB debut with the team on June 16, 2014.
He peaked in 2017, hitting .272/.340/.516 with 24 doubles and 19 home runs in 412 plate appearances, but struggled mightily in 2018 with a .181 average and 69 OPS+ in 285 trips to the plate.
After a 1-for-29 start to the season in 2019, he was the victim of a roster crunch, with the Phillies designating him for assignment at the beginning of May. At the time, the San Francisco Giants outfield situation was still very much in flux, so they put in a claim.
In the end, Altherr appeared in just one game with the Giants, striking out in his lone plate appearance. Oddly, I remember that at-bat better than most of the team’s clutch wins from July.
The idea behind claiming Altherr was to eventually try to sneak him through waivers and stash him in Triple-A. The Giants wanted to rework his swing in the minors and given his $1.35 million price tag for 2019, that plan looked like it could work.
However, the New York Mets had a different plan. They quickly put a claim on Altherr, effectively ending his brief tenure with the San Francisco Giants.
As time passes, we may forget that Dull and Altherr ever played with the San Francisco Giants organization in 2019. Or, they may stick in our minds as the random oddities from this season like Kyle Drabek trying his hand as a hitter in 2016. Either way, there is sure to be more randomness ahead as Farhan Zaidi continues to churn the roster.