Happy Monday, San Francisco Giants fans. Enjoy the potential quiet before the virtually guaranteed storm ... next Monday is the start of the Winter Meetings, at which point we’ll see a flurry that will likely take the bulk of the big free agent names off the board ... if they don’t sign this week instead.
The Giants, like all teams that don’t call Philadelphia home, have yet to make a splash in free agency this offseason, but they did make a quietly nice move on Sunday, when they re-signed right-handed reliever Cole Waites to a Minor League deal.
Giants signed RHP Cole Waites (25.5Y) to a minor league contract. Waites was non-tendered about a week ago. He had TJ surgery in Sept, so likely out all of 2024.— GPT (@giantsprospects) November 26, 2023
Waites, an 18th-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, made his MLB debut late in the 2022 season, becoming the first Giants player drafted in the Farhan Zaidi era to make the bigs. He impressed in his cup of coffee, and looked primed to play a large role in the bullpen in 2023, potentially as a high-leverage, late-inning reliever.
But the power righty struggled out of the gates this year, in Spring Training, the Majors, and with AAA Sacramento, and it eventually became clear why: his elbow was not healthy. Waites was shutdown midseason, and it was eventually determined that he needed Tommy John surgery, which was performed in September, ending his 2024 season before the 2023 season was even wrapped up.
With Waites out for the coming year, the Giants had a decision to make regarding his spot on the 40-man roster spot: clog a spot with someone who couldn’t contribute in 2024, or risk losing a top relief prospect on waivers. The odds of someone claiming Waites were slim, and the Giants designated him for assignment to open up a roster spot.
And now he’s back.
Terms of Waites’ Minor League contract were not disclosed, but I’m guessing the Giants took good care of him. Players make significantly more money if they are on the 40-man roster than a standard Minors contract, even if that player is not on the active roster. And I’m guessing San Francisco is making sure that Waites isn’t losing too much money as punishment for having an unlucky injury. After all, when they did this with Darien Núñez (after first poaching him from the Los Angeles Dodgers), The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly reported that the team, “offered him more money than the Dodgers had — seven times as much, according to [his agent Armando] Rios. They offered him housing and car allowances. They helped him bring his brother, Dariel, from Cuba. They pledged to invite him to major-league spring training in 2023, even though he’d just be spending all of February and March rehabbing at the Papago Park complex anyway. His locker at Scottsdale Stadium was empty all spring. But the big-league camp invite came with major-league meal money and a host of other perks.”
Welcome back, Cole. Here’s to a great recovery, and a dominant 2025.