The Tampa Bay Rays designated infielder Daniel Robertson for assignment, but he checks off several boxes for the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants have struggled to get consistent production from their middle infielders, and Robertson offers plenty of potential upside both with the glove and at the plate.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is already familiar with Robertson as he with the Oakland Athletics when they selected the middle infielder in the first round of the 2012 draft.
The former first-rounder worked his way up the minor league ranks before being shipped to the Tampa Bay Rays in a blockbuster move that netted Ben Zobrist for the Athletics. The fact that some very smart clubs such as the Rays and the Athletics sought him out should be an indictment of his talent level.
In eight minor league seasons, the right-handed bat slashed a .280/.371/.411 line with 42 home runs and 235 RBI. Below these surface-level stats, Robertson boasted an appealing 10.5 percent walk rate against a 17.4 percent strikeout rate.
In that time, he appeared on several top-100 prospect publications while topping out as 65th best prospect according to MLB.Com before the 2015 season.
He forced his way onto the Rays roster in 2017 and played with the club for the next two seasons. In his three years with Tampa Bay, Robertson posted a .231/.340/.352 line (91 OPS+) while proving to be a tough out and showing occasional pop:
Strike zone awareness and plate discipline might be his strongest offensive traits as he does not hit for a lot of power so his overall upside is limited. That said, Zaidi has proven to target players with these types of traits.
The decision to place him on waivers has more to do with Tampa Bay’s surplus of middle infielders than Roberton’s performance so far. Former teammate Christian Arroyo was another middle infielder who was squeezed out of the organization due to the same roster crunch.
In the field, the 26-year-old wears many gloves. The bulk of his major league experience has come at second base, but he has seen time at shortstop, third base, and left field as well. On top of this, he has recorded two scoreless outings with the Rays. Watch out, Pablo Sandoval.
He has the versatility to play all around the field and the Giants could certainly use more of that on their roster. Though, both Brandon Crawford and Mauricio Dubon are beginning to heat up, they still have a .642 and .619 OPS, respectively.
Plus, the greatest player ever, Donovan Solano, has struggled to make the routine plays at second base. Ultimately, there is ample playing time to go around for someone like Robertson.
He would add to the middle infield depth and bring some more grittiness to the Giants roster. I think it is highly unlikely he squeaks through waivers, so if the Giants want him, they will need to work out a trade beforehand.
Zaidi has worked to make marginal improvements to a roster that still is lacking in talent, and this is one move that seems like a no-brainer for San Francisco.