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:
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.
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.