A pair of former San Francisco Giants players were in the news recently. Infielder Abiatal Avelino is staying with the organization, whereas reliever Jandel Gustave has latched on with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Following the trade, the middle infielder made his major league debut with the Giants as a September call-up.
In 11 September at-bats, the right-handed hitter recorded three hits while seeing time at shortstop and second base.
The Giants liked his range and athleticism as a middle infielder that they challenged him to get some work in as an outfielder.
The experiment worked as Avelino did see six innings as a left fielder with the Giants in 2019.
However, the 25-year-old only recorded two hits in seven at-bats last season. Given his lack of power, it seemed unlikely that he would carve out a short-term role with the team.
That said, he was sitting on the roster bubble as the 2020 season began. My suspicion was confirmed when they placed him on waivers.
Despite being placed on waivers, the middle infielder went unclaimed and will remain with the Giants organization:
Jandel Gustave signs with the Pittsburgh Pirates
The other roster move took place on Monday morning:
Gustave was brought in on a minor league pact before the 2019 season. From 2016-2017, he worked sparingly out of the Houston Astros bullpen before succumbing to injury.
In 2019, Gustave made 23 appearances for the Giants and posted a 2.96 ERA with a 3.71 FIP across 24.1 frames. On top of this, his average fastball velocity hovered at 96.1 MPH, which is an encouraging sign for someone returning from Tommy John surgery.
Despite these serviceable numbers, San Francisco surprisingly chose not to include the 27-year-old in their 60-play pool for the 2020 season.
It was surprising since Gustave was on the 40-man roster, and the decision to leave him off signaled how low he had fallen on the team’s depth chart.
When this happened, it was only a matter of time before the Giants placed him on waivers. San Francisco did not waste any time as he was removed from the 40-man roster less than two weeks after the season began.
Given that the Pirates pitching staff has struggled to the tune of a 5.55 ERA, Pittsburgh should have no problems finding innings for the right-handed hurler. As the Giants bullpen continues to implode, the decision to not even give Gustave a chance remains curious.