SF Giants make minor trade for speedy utility man

Luke Williams
Luke Williams / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Since Farhan Zaidi took over as the SF Giants President of Baseball Operations in late-2018, he has made a habit of picking up outfielders in minor trades who weren't getting a shot in their original organization and seeing them become standouts for the Giants. Mike Yastrzemski, acquired from the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Tyler Herb in March of 2019, and LaMonte Wade Jr, plucked off the Minnesota Twins' roster for hurler Shaun Anderson, are the two most prominent examples.

Now the Giants have picked up another potential diamond in the rough who was blocked in his previous depth chart.

It was announced Sunday afternoon that Zaidi and crew had completed a small deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, sending minor-league infielder Will Toffey and cash considerations for utility man Luke Williams.

Williams got his first taste of the Majors in 2021 with the Phillies and saw time at every position on the field other than pitcher and catcher. His 73 1/3 innings in center field was his most at any position, though he also played 44 innings at second base and 32 2/3 innings at the hot corner.

Listed at 6'1" and 186 pounds, Williams didn't show a lot of pop with Philadelphia. He tallied four doubles and one homer in 98 at-bats, good for a paltry .316 slugging percentage.

With Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2021, Williams batted .270 with five doubles, two triples and no homers. He stole seven bases in 10 tries over 32 games, close to his career-best rate of 30 swipes (nine caught) in 125 games with Double-A Reading in 2019.

Williams can be used all over the diamond by SF Giants manager Gabe Kapler

Blocked in the Philadelphia outfield by reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper and the Phillies' high-profile free agent signings of Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, Williams has the ability to fill in at almost any position - a trait Giants manager Gabe Kapler can use to the team's benefit. One of the reasons the 2021 Giants were so successful was the versatility of their roster, with many players able to pinch-hit and play different positions.

Recent free-agent signing Matthew Boyd, still recovering from a surgery that ended his 2021 season, was moved to the 60-day Injured List to make room on the 40-man roster for Williams.