The SF Giants released infielder Abiatal Avelino on Monday. Avelino was the last remaining piece in the organization from the Andrew McCutchen trades.
Avelino originally came to the Giants in 2018 along with pitching prospect Juan De Paula from the New York Yankees for Andrew McCutchen. De Paula was the centerpiece of the Giants acquisition of Kevin Pillar the following April. When Pillar signed with the Red Sox this winter, Avelino was the lone piece tied to the McCutchen acquisition with the Giants.
Avelino has always been a decent performer and solid prospect, but never overtly exceptional. He looked like a player destined for a utility role, capable of playing second base, shortstop, and a bit of third base with decent contact skills.
Ultimately, Avelino’s defense never developed enough to make that particularly desirable. Below-average at every position, his bat didn’t offer enough to justify a consistent big-league spot.
With Mauricio Dubon and Daniel Robertson entrenched as the Giants utility men, Avelino became much more expendable. The release also opens up a spot in Sacramento for another player. As reliever Reyes Moronta works toward returning from a shoulder injury, the move may be tied to his return.
Reviewing the SF Giants Andrew McCutchen Trade(s)
Of course, to acquire Cutch in the first place, the Giants traded prospects Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick to the Pirates. Reynolds finished 4th in the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year voting and Crick has been a mainstay in the back of the Pirates bullpen.
Following the release of Abiatal Avelino, the Giants have no threads tying them to the original McCutchen trade, we can fully review what they recouped in terms of MLB games.
Both McCutchen and Pillar were solid (albeit unexceptional) everyday players for the Giants for nearly two full seasons. The Giants obviously weren’t competitive during that time, but neither of them are to blame.
Reynolds looked like a future star as a rookie, hitting .314/.377/.503 with 3.2 wins above replacement (WAR). However, advanced metrics saw him more as a solid everyday player than something exceptional. His .387 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) left many projection systems expecting severe regression.
ZIPS projected Reynolds to hit .265/.329/.423 and generate 1.7 WAR over a 162-game season. The closest historical comp, according to ZIPS, was Andre Ethier. Thus far in 2020, Reynolds has struggled mightily. His BABIP regressed to .250 and has held down an abysmal .192/.281/.342 line.
The Giants may have overpaid for McCutchen in retrospect, but it looks a lot different if Reynolds is simply a solid player compared to a face-of-the-franchise.
On Monday, the SF Giants released infielder Abiatal Avelino from their alternate site. The move opens up a spot in Sacramento for another player. It also brings an end to the Giants side of the Andrew McCutchen trades.