The Giants announced Friday that they have claimed outfielder John Andreoli off waivers from the Rangers. Texas designated him for assignment earlier this week after signing Shawn Kelley to a one-year contract. In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Andreoli, the Giants designated right-hander Derek Law for assignment.
Andreoli split the 2018 season between the Orioles and the Mariners, posting a combined .230/.284/.262 slash in a tiny sample of 67 plate appearances. He has a strong track record of getting on base in the upper minors, as evidenced by his .264/.371/.408 batting line in nearly 2000 Triple-A plate appearances, and he’s knocked 34 homers, 83 doubles and 26 triples in that time while also collecting 121 steals. He’ll give the Giants a much needed outfield option, although with San Francisco reportedly on the hunt for additional veteran outfielders, it’s far from a guarantee that Andreoli will factor prominently into the organization’s 2019 plans.
As for Law, the 28-year-old burst onto the scene with a dominant rookie campaign in 2016 but has failed to approximate that year’s success in two subsequent efforts. Law was dominant as a rookie, recording a 2.13 ERA with a 50-to-9 K/BB ratio and a 50.3 percent ground-ball rate in 55 innings out of Bruce Bochy’s bullpen. Fielding-independent metrics largely supported that emphatic announcement of his arrival in the Majors, with FIP (2.53), xFIP (3.12) and SIERA (3.00) all concurring on his excellence.
Since that time, however, Law has been torched for a 5.68 ERA in 50 2/3 MLB frames. While his strikeout rate has remained constant, his 3.9 BB/9 mark over the past two seasons is two and a half times higher than his 1.5 mark as a rookie. His ground-ball rate, meanwhile, plummeted by more than 10 percent, with his home-run rate experiencing a corresponding spike. Law’s fastball velocity hasn’t depreciated, so perhaps another club will look at him as an intriguing bullpen reclamation project. He’s out of minor league options, so any club that picks him up (be it via trade or waivers) will need to carry him onto the Opening Day roster or else expose him to waivers.