Chris Stratton

The numbers behind Farhan Zaidi's busy first offseason with Giants

The numbers behind Farhan Zaidi's busy first offseason with Giants

LOS ANGELES -- It seemed a lock that at some point in his first offseason with the Giants, Farhan Zaidi would deal bullpen depth for a starting outfielder. The new president of baseball operations was even open about the calls he was getting on guys like Will Smith and Tony Watson, along with his desire to deal for outfield help. 

On Thursday, Smith, Watson and the rest took their place in the bullpen. Connor Joe and Michael Reed started in the outfield corners. That's not what was expected. 

"It was a deep reliever market in free agency this offseason, and we liked our relievers -- they weren't kind of just fodder for us to trade and acquire other pieces," Zaidi said when discussing the roster Thursday. "A deal like that certainly made sense on paper, but we didn't line up on anything that made sense for us."

That doesn't mean it was quiet on the transaction wire. Zaidi came up short on his high-profile pursuit of Bryce Harper and didn't really dip into the rest of the free agency market much, but he certainly kept busy. On Opening Day, there were 12 new faces on the 40-man roster. 

Zaidi returns to Los Angeles on Monday night, where he was a big part of the roster churn for four seasons. Here's a breakdown of the number of moves he's made thus far. Think good thoughts for the team's PR staff, responsible for updating the roster and game notes on a seemingly daily basis:

Trades: 11

Zaidi made 11 trades, although none were the kind that would trend on Twitter. He dealt for Breyvic Valera, Jake Barrett, Trevor Gott, Connor Joe, Michael Reed, Mike Yastrzemski, Erik Kratz and Williams Jerez. The most notable piece traded away was Chris Stratton, who was out of options. 

The biggest flurry came over the final days of the spring. Starting with the Joe trade, Zaidi made five minor deals in six days, acquiring three members of the Opening Day roster: Joe, Reed and Kratz. 

Waiver claims: 6

Appropriately, Zaidi's first official roster move with the Giants was the waiver claim of Mike Gerber, who was later designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A. Gerber, Jose Lopez, John Andreoli, Hanser Alberto, Merandy Gonzalez and Tom Murphy were all claimed.

The Giants hoped to add depth by then getting players through waivers or trading them. Gerber is the only one who remains, although Murphy brought back a young right-handed prospect with intriguing strikeout rates in a sneaky move. The Giants used their waiver priority to get him from the Rockies, put him up at a hotel for a couple of nights, and then dealt him to the Mariners, who likely knew Murphy wouldn't get to them on the waiver wire. Expect more of that. 

Most of the newcomers Zaidi waived got claimed elsewhere, but some holdovers from last year's roster made it through when waived. That shows you what the rest of the league thinks of the roster Zaidi inherited. 

Big league deals: 3

Harper would have changed the math dramatically. Instead, the Giants signed only Pat Venditte, Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz to big league deals for less than $10 million combined in guaranteed money. Holland and Pomeranz are in the rotation. That's some smooth operating from Venditte and his agent, Marc Kligman, to get a big league deal during an offseason when the Giants were extremely careful with their 40-man spots.

Minor league deals: 21

This is where the Giants really tried to make some moves. It's standard to sign a ton of guys to minor league deals, especially non-roster invitees in spring training, but the Giants struck late in the process with guys like Gerardo Parra, Yangervis Solarte and Nick Vincent, who made the team. The standard deal seemed to be around $1.75 million with incentives for the veterans. They've gotten some bargains in this market.

Designated for assignment: 12

It was not a good offseason to be an older prospect familiar to fans. Mac Williamson, Derek Law, Steven Okert and Josh Osich were among the players DFA'd. Then there were guys like Andreoli, who was claimed off waivers, designated for assignment four days later, outrighted to Triple-A, and then traded for Reed. That's the new normal for a lot of older fringe players. 

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Rule 5 players: 3

For the first time, the Giants took two players in the Rule 5 Draft: Travis Bergen and Drew Ferguson.

Bergen made the team, but Ferguson was returned to the Astros. The Giants still had two Rule 5 players on the Opening Day roster, though. They actually loved Joe as the Rule 5 Draft approached at the Winter Meetings, but the Reds took him with the sixth pick. Two selections later, the Giants scooped up Bergen.

Chris Stratton thanks Giants, makes Angels' Opening Day roster after trade

Chris Stratton thanks Giants, makes Angels' Opening Day roster after trade

It's been a hectic 24 hours for Chris Stratton. 

Following their spring training game against the Oakland A's on Monday night, the San Francisco Giants traded the right-hander to the Los Angeles Angels for left-hander Williams Jerez.

Stratton, 28, thanked the Giants' organization on Twitter following the move.

While the right-hander had a rough 2018 with the Giants, going 10-10 with a 5.09 ERA, the Angels are excited about what he can bring to their team.

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Angels manager Brad Ausmus announced Tuesday that Stratton will be in the starting rotation to open the season.

Stratton was expected to be a long reliever for the Giants, so the Angels appear to present a better opportunity for the 2012 first-round draft pick, who will look to put it all together for the Halos this season.

Chris Stratton traded by Giants to Angels for reliever Williams Jerez

Chris Stratton traded by Giants to Angels for reliever Williams Jerez

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants finished their exhibition game well after 11 p.m. on Monday. They weren't done for the day, though. 

One minute before midnight, the Giants announced they had traded right-hander Chris Stratton to the Angels in exchange for left-handed reliever Williams Jerez. In a related move, lefty Andrew Suarez was optioned to Triple-A, all but setting the Giants' rotation.

Asked after the game if he had an order of starting pitchers, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was coy.

"You'll see why here soon," Bochy said.

A few minutes later, the Giants announced they have parted ways with a former first-round draft pick who seemed headed for the long reliever role. 

Stratton, taken 20th overall in 2012, lived up to that promise at times, delivering a couple of strong stretches in the rotation. But he was inconsistent, posting a 4.63 ERA overall in 48 big-league appearances. He entered the spring without a hold on a job, and it seemed his only chance at sticking was to be the last man in the bullpen. Stratton was out of options.

Jerez, 26, made his debut last season and had a 6.00 ERA in 17 relief appearances for the Angels. He struck out exactly a batter per inning. Jerez averaged 9.4 strikeouts per nine in the minors, although walks have been an issue. A second-rounder in 2011, he has a 3.55 ERA in 171 minor-league relief appearances.

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Suarez had a strong rookie season, but he was on the outside looking in all spring. He'll be the next man up, with the Giants' rotation seemingly going with Madison Bumgarner, Derek Holland, Dereck Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Jeff Samardzija in that order.

Of course, that could change Tuesday. You never quite know these days.