The San Francisco Giants made a flurry of moves on Tuesday, ahead of the opening game of their three-game set against the Colorado Rockies.
Outfielder Gerardo Parra, who was designated for assignment on Friday, was officially outrighted to Sacramento, but since he was out of options, he elected free agency. Versatile Yangervis Solarte was designated for assignment, and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento and designated for assignment. Outfield prospect Mike Gerber was also optioned to the River Cats.
All this was to make way for the promotion of left-hander Williams Jerez, infielder Donoval Solano and powerful outfield prospect Mac Williamson. Williamson, who had suffered through post-concussion syndrome last season after taking a spill on San Francisco’s on-field bullpens, has been one of the hottest bats in the minor leagues.
Williamson, 28, hit .237 with 18 strikeouts in 59 spring training at-bats, and was among the last cuts after the Bay Bridge Series because, since he was out of options, the Giants would have had to make room on the 40-man roster to keep him. So, he was designated for assignment. He cleared waivers and was sent down to Triple-A, as San Francisco chose to keep Connor Joe and Michael Reed.
As the season has gone, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has made other incremental moves to improve the outfield and add right-handed bats, acquiring Kevin Pillar and Tyler Austin as they became available, while jetisoning Reed and Joe. Williamson, though, was always in the background of the Giants’ plans.
In 23 games with Sacramento, he’s hit .378 with nine home runs, 22 RBIs and 25 strikeouts to 13 walks. On Monday, he slugged three home runs, including a 511-foot bomb. In a radio interview last week, Zaidi said that Williamson — who has 13 home runs over 306 Major League at-bats — had worked his way back into the picture.
“With a guy like Mac being out of options, we have to make sure when we pull the trigger on that, we have a long period where we can take a look at him,” Zaidi said Thursday on KNBR 680. “That’s what’s fair to him, and as an organization, we don’t want to risk exposing him to waivers.”
Gerber had gone 1-for-15 with nine strikeouts since his call up. Solarte, while able to play botht he infield and outfield, wasn’t able to make much of an impression after making the club as a non-roster invitee the Giants hoped would round into form.
The switch-hitter was a .267/.327/.419 hitter from 2014 to 2017, but struggled through 2018 with the Blue Jays (.226/.277/.378) and was even worse in 78 plate appearances with San Francisco (.205/.247/.315).
Venditte, who signed with the Giants this offseason, has been tagged for six runs on four hits, two walks and three hit batters with two strikeouts in just 3 1/3 innings since being recalled. His best work had come as a left-on-left specialist, as he’s held opponents to a slash of .179/.226/.349 through 115 plate appearances in those matchups.