Mac Williamson lasted just eighteen days. Fifteen games, if you want to be precise. 57 plate appearances. He had as many strikeouts (18) as he did days on the 2019 roster. Fewer hits (6) than the Diamondbacks’ Tim Locastro has been hit by a pitch this season (7).
The Giants designated him for assignment this morning to make room for 28-year old outfielder and grandson of Carl Yastrzemski, Mike Yastrzemski, who has 12 home runs and a .411 OBP in 40 games with the Sacramento River Cats this season. We’ll talk about him more in a bit.
Just six days ago, Aaron Altherr was designated for assignment after a single at bat (a strikeout). He was claimed by the Mets and hit a home run late in last night’s game.
Earlier in the year, the Yankees picked up Cameron Maybin, whom the Giants had cut during spring training. He hit .297/.422/.351 in 14 games with them (45 PA) before hitting his first home run with them on May 15th:
"Cameron Maybin hits his first Yankees home run. Cammering Cameron." pic.twitter.com/KioBtgiMQO— John Sterling Calls (@JSterlingCalls) May 15, 2019
Gerardo Parra was designated for assignment on May 3rd and opted for free agency rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A. Two days after he signed with the Washington Nationals, he hit a grand slam against the Dodgers:
After the Giants DFA’d Connor Joe last month, he was returned to the Dodgers and in 17 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City, he has a 1.026 OPS and 16:15 walks to strikeout ratio.
What I’m driving at here is at the Giants have had tremendously bad luck with their outfielders. Not only have they no success with the ones they’ve employed, particularly in left field, but those players have gone on to provide adequate depth with their very next team. Does this mean that Mac Williamson is destined for a similar fate? I hope so.
Cleveland, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeheim, Baltimore, and Colorado could all use outfielders or at least some added depth, so there’s a good chance that Williamson finds a landing spot. His days with the Giants are definitely over.
He can refuse an assignment to Triple-A and become a free agent, and that would be the smart move at this point. The Giants are a sinking ship and whatever opportunity he thinks he deserves (mind you, he does deserve opportunities) won’t be found with the organization.
The Giants weren’t beholden to him. They didn’t have to give him 300 plate appearances. And as much as people may want to pin this on Farhan Zaidi and a heartless front office, a lot of the same people who drafted and developed and watch Mac’s career are still very much there.
In the early part of his Giants career, he was given a short leash. And then the weird injury stuff started to befall him to complicate matters. But Farhan Zaidi can read everything the Giants have ever written about Mac Williamson, watch all the video they’ve ever captured of him, and he can just as easily come to the same conclusions as the rest of the staff or simply rely on the advice of the people around him.
After clumping together eight strikeouts in nine plate appearances over two games, Williamson made this an easy call. We can certainly debate the merits of cutting a player performing poorly on one of the worst teams in professional sports, but Mac was never going to be a part of the Giants’ future.
That’s the funny thing about this season — every roster move with the Major League team is designed to support Bruce Bochy’s final season, to supplement the core of Posey, Belt, Crawford, Panik, Longoria, and, uh, I guess Sandoval? Did Mac Williamson equal or better that group? He very clearly did not, and the Giants weren’t going to wait around to see if he could, not when they already know they’re running out of time with that very core.
It’s going to be a rough year, and as much as it’s rough for Mac Williamson and the seven others who’ve been DFA’d, this is a sweet release. Just because the Giants couldn’t use them doesn’t make them useless. The Giants are trying to thread a very thin needle. They’re not going to be able to do it — the core is old and barely league average, the quality of competition is far superior no matter what they try to do to supplement that core — but it’s understandable why they feel compelled to try.
So, we get another 28-year old outfielder trying to provide a jolt of life to a sundowning roster. To the Giants’ credit, they’re going all in with this latest roster move:
Cynically, the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski might just be enough to appease the deepest realms of the season ticket base for a few weeks while we all get a look at this “kid”. Realistically, adding another left-handed hitter to the roster seems like it could be more trouble the Giants can’t afford.
Here’s a snippet from a four-year old scouting report on him:
A good athlete, Yastrzemski doesn’t have any standout tool. Rather, he’s a good baseball player with a feel for the game and the skills to do everything well, but not great.
He can take the ball up the middle well, hit the gaps with hard-hit line drives and stretch a single into a double or a double into a triple with good baserunning and speed.
Yeah, the Giants are throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. They’re not looking for depth, they’re looking for standouts. The good news for the DFA’d players this month —
— is that in being cast aside, they’re free to be the best versions of themselves with another team. Mac Williamson & co. might have very few service time days remaining in their careers or they might have many more years ahead of them as backups or in a role that doesn’t carry the subtle demand that they save a dying franchise.