© Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
SAN FRANCISCO – Prior to Monday night’s game against the San Diego Padres, the Giants made two moves. Outfielder Connor Joe was designated for assignment after just 10 games. To replace him, the Giants acquired infielder/outfielder Tyler Austin from the Minnesota Twins.
Before Monday’s game, Giants VP of baseball operations Zaidi discussed the move to acquire Austin and designate Joe for assignment. Giants beat writer from The Athletic, Andrew Baggarly had Zaidi quoted saying:
“When you have a Rule-5 guy or an out-of-options guy, you need one of three things to keep the situation alive. You need immediate performance and immediate returns, or you need your team playing well where you can buy that player a little bit more time, or you’re in a full rebuild mode and you’re willing to work through that. Unfortunately, none of those apply in this case.”
Joe struggled throughout his short stint with the team. Logging just one hit in fifteen at-bats, Joe’s lack of performance was not helping an already cold Giants offense.
“You’ll always have to ask if Connor got three or four more balls to drop in, you’re 5-15 vs 1-15, are you looking at it differently? Or if we’re firing on more cylinders offensively, would we be in a situation to give them more rope? And for me, we’re excited to get Tyler and we think he’s going to be a great fit for our team, but, you know, it’s disappointing that we weren’t in a situation to give Connor Joe more of an opportunity and more rope.”
Zaidi followed Joe closely during his time with the Dodgers. He’s seen first-hand the improvement and strides Joe has made in his game.
“I mean I saw his improvement last year first-hand, and I think he was very deserving of this opportunity. I’ve seen people refer to this as “The Connor Joe experiment”, which sounds all well and good, but he’s not an experiment. He’s a real person who worked his ass off to get here.”
Zaidi also discussed why the recent trades for Austin and Kevin Pillar happened so late, and what he envisions for the newest acquisition. Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News captured Zaidi discussing the move.
“If the trade for Kevin Pillar had been available to us before opening day, we would have done it then. The availability of options sometimes doesn’t line up on your own schedule and what’s convenient for you.”
Austin was once a top prospect in the New York Yankees system before being traded to the Twins. Making the Twins opening day roster, Austin was squeezed out due to a roster crunch.
“Tyler Austin made the Twins opening day roster and I think they viewed him as a piece they were going to keep this season, and it was really just a need for an extra arm that bumped him off the roster and made him available to us.”
With the recent moves in-season, and the flurry of moves before the season started, it may come across as ‘figuring out the roster as they go,’ but Zaidi does not think that’s the case.
“This was less about ‘we’re going to figure this out on the fly’, as much as it was about a defensive-first, right-handed bat in the outfield and someone who brought some thump, especially against left-handed pitching. We just couldn’t get those deals done before the season started, but we’re obviously really happy to have these guys.”
Tonight Austin makes his Giants debut playing first base and batting second vs. the San Diego Padres.