Image credit: Chris Stratton (Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Giants continue to furiously reshape the edges of their roster as Opening Day approaches.
San Francisco traded righthander Chris Stratton to the Angels for lefthanded relief prospect Williams Jerez on Monday night, the Giants’ fifth trade in five days. They acquired infielder Connor Joe from the Reds on March 21, outfielders Michael Reed from the Twins and Mike Yastrzemski from the Orioles on March 23 and catcher Erik Kratz from the Brewers on March 24. They also claimed catcher Tom Murphy off waivers from the Rockies on Monday.
In that same five-day stretch, the Giants have designated pitchers Steven Okert, Merandy Gonzalez and Jose Lopez for assignment, released outfielder Cameron Maybin and catcher Rene Rivera, traded outfielder Matt Joyce to the Braves for cash and returned Rule 5 pick Drew Ferguson to the Astros.
The Giants optioned leftander Andrew Suarez to Triple-A Sacramento to make room on the roster for Jerez.
Williams Jerez, LHP
The Red Sox drafted Jerez in the second round as an outfielder in 2011 and converted him to pitching in 2014. The Angels acquired him as one of two players for Ian Kinsler at last year’s trade deadline, and he entered this season ranked as the Angels’ No. 23 prospect. Jerez brings a heavy fastball from the left side that sits 95 mph and reaches 98 mph, but his heater plays down because it lacks plane and he struggles badly to command it. He also has a hard, 88 mph slider and a splitter that plays well against against righties. Jerez has plenty of arm strength, but he has to continue to work to drive his pitches down in the zone and hone his mechanics so his delivery doesn’t get out of sync. The Giants will try and help him make those fixes. If he can, he has the potential to be a power lefthander out of their bullpen.
Chris Stratton, RHP
A first-round pick in 2011, Stratton has been a serviceable if unspectacular starter for the Giants the last two seasons. With Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney already experiencing their annual arm problems, and J.C. Ramirez not due back from Tommy John surgery until June, Stratton provides the Angels badly needed starting pitching depth. Stratton is stretched starting over a full season, but he gives the Angels an option to come up and deliver 10 to 15 serviceable starts as injuries hit.