There was a flurry of roster moves made around the league on Tuesday including one transaction involving a former top SF Giants international free agent signing. The Washington Nationals announced that they claimed speedy infield prospect Lucius Fox off of waivers from the Baltimore Orioles.
Former top SF Giants IFA prospect claimed off of waivers by Nationals
Fox holds a unique place in Giants history in that he received the highest signing bonus ($6.5 million) that the organization has ever handed out to an international prospect. He was signed out of the Bahamas during the 2015 J2 signing period and his bonus alone put the Giants in the penalty for the ensuing two signing periods.
Interestingly, he did not remain in the Giants organization for long. In the midst of his first season as a professional, the middle infield prospect was shipped to the Tampa Bay Rays along with third baseman Matt Duffy and pitching prospect Michael Santos in a move that brought left-handed hurler Matt Moore in return.
Duffy was a fan-favorite at the time of the move, so it was not a trade that was well-received. It did not help that Moore struggled to the tune of a 5.12 ERA in parts of two seasons with San Francisco. That said, the Giants may not have made the playoffs in 2016 if not for Moore's performance down the stretch where he allowed just two earned runs in his final two starts to help nab a pair of key wins.
In fairness, Fox has not lived up to the expectations of his signing bonus either. The 24-year-old has shown good plate discipline and decent bat-to-ball skills, but he has not demonstrated nearly enough power to become an everyday player. However, as a glove-first infielder, Fox has a chance of carving out a role as a utility player.
In parts of five minor league seasons, he has registered a .244/.339/.332 line with an 11 percent walk rate against a 22 percent strikeout rate. The Rays shipped him to the Kansas City Royals before the 2020 deadline, receiving outfielder Brett Phillips in a one-for-one swap.
Despite being on the 40-man roster, Fox has yet to earn a promotion to a major league roster. He has been on the move recently as he was claimed by the Orioles 10 days ago before being claimed by the Nationals on Tuesday.
Washington appears to be rebuilding, so it makes sense for them to put in a claim on a prospect like Fox. The infield prospect brings a versatile glove, good speed, and he hits from both sides of the plate, so he does a lot of little things that a utility player can do. He is still young and might have some development left to realize, but he will not likely live up to the hefty expectations that were set when he signed.