The SF Giants completed a trade with the New York Yankees on Sunday by acquiring a versatile, middle infielder.
SF Giants: Middle Infielder Acquired In Trade With Yankees
Before the start of the season, the Giants’ front office stated a desire to add middle infield depth, especially someone who could play shortstop. Behind Brandon Crawford, they did not have a reliable infielder who could hold down shortstop in case Crawford hits the injured list.
Now, they do after acquiring Thairo Estrada from the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations. The right-handed bat had been in DFA purgatory after being placed on waivers when New York swung a trade to acquire Rougned Odor.
In Estrada, San Francisco has a glove-first infielder with over 2,000 innings of work at shortstop. Furthermore, he has seen substantial time at second base as well as some work at third base, left field, and right field.
In the batter’s box, the 25-year-old has slashed .214/.267/.348 (65 OPS+) with four home runs and 15 RBI in 121 plate appearances since he debuted with the Yankees in 2019. This comes with a rough 28 percent strikeout rate against a 3.3 percent walk rate.
However, Estrada has seen better results in the minors since he agreed to a $49,000 signing bonus with the Yankees back in 2012. In seven minor-league seasons, he has registered a .280/.337/.389 line with 88 doubles, 13 triples, 26 home runs and 183 RBI. His plate discipline skills were much better than his major-league sample as he posted a 13.4 percent strikeout rate against a 6.5 percent walk rate.
Does this profile sound like Donovan Solano? They are similar in terms of defensive versatility, subpar results early on at the major-league level, good contact skills, and swing designed for line drives. Perhaps, the right environment is all that Estrada needs to pull it all together.
In fairness to Estrada, he has battled some unique circumstances that have stalled his development. As a 21-year-old in 2017, he was beginning to look like a legitimate prospect when he slashed .301/.353/.392 with six home runs and 48 RBI in Double-A. However, the right-handed bat sustained a gunshot wound in the right hip as a bystander in January of 2018.
The injury took a long time to heal as the first attempt to remove the bullet was botched and it was not until six months after the original injury that the bullet was taken out.
This is compounded by the fact that the minor leagues did not have a baseball season in 2020. In all, Estrada has missed a lot of development time as a result of circumstances that were completely out of his control. He has only tallied a total of 293 plate appearances at Triple-A, so perhaps, more minor-league development makes sense.
Nevertheless, the Giants finally have some depth at a key position in case Crawford misses time. In the meantime, Estrada will work out at the alternate training site in Sacramento until the minor-league season begins.