The SF Giants continued to bolster organizational depth on Thursday as they completed a trade with the Chicago Cubs. Right-handed hurler Cory Abbott has been shipped to San Francisco in exchange for cash considerations, per the team's transaction page.
SF Giants swing a trade with the Cubs to acquire starting pitcher
Abbott had recently been designated for assignment by the Cubs. Given that the 40-man roster was full, the Giants needed to make a corresponding roster move and they did that by designating outfielder Jayin Davis for assignment.
This is a tough break for Davis as it seemed like he never got a fair opportunity with the Giants. Injuries certainly played a role in that, but the right-handed-hitting outfielder only accumulated a total of 68 plate appearances in parts of three seasons with San Francisco.
In that time, he slashed .159/.221/.270 (31 OPS+) with just two home runs, four RBI, and 18 strikeouts. The contact issues plagued Davis as well as his struggles to generate lift with his swing during his brief time with San Francisco.
That said, the 27-year-old outfielder has been much more effective in Triple-A, slashing .293/.371/.612 with a 9.4 percent walk rate against a 28.1 percent strikeout rate. Given that he has one minor league option remaining and good power potential, Davis will likely be plucked away on waivers.
With Abbott, the Giants get a 26-year-old pitcher who has worked primarily as a starter since being drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft. Oddly enough, this is the second pitcher from the 2017 draft that the Giants have added to the organization this week.
The righty has moved relatively quickly up the minor league ladder, reaching as high as Triple-A in 2021. He debuted with the Cubs in that same season as well.
Across five minor league seasons, Abbott has registered a 3.65 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, and a 3.03 SO/W ratio. He yielded 13 earned runs on 20 hits, including seven home runs, across 17.1 frames in his brief stint with the Cubs.
Despite these struggles, Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin of Fangraphs still think that Abbott has some rotation upside:
"Abbott’s fastball averages 93 mph and he mixes it with a mid-80s curve, along with a slider and a changeup that both sit in the upper-80s. None of his pitches stand out much in terms of spin or movement... While his command remains impressive, Abbott’s stuff hasn’t blossomed the way some hoped it might in pro ball, so his projection as a low-variance fifth starter still holds true."- Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin
On a different note, Abbott has two minor league options remaining, so he carries some roster flexibility that might be needed with Alex Cobb on the injured list with an abductor strain and with rosters being reduced by two spots at the beginning of May.
The Giants built a rotation with considerable injury risk, so they will likely continue to scour the market for starting pitching help. The addition of Abbott helps in bolstering depth, but there is still work to be done.