The Giants have acquired utilityman Connor Joe from the Reds, per a club announcement. Righty Jordan Johnson and cash considerations are headed to Cincinnati in return. To open a 40-man roster spot, the Giants designated outfielder Drew Ferguson for assignment.
Both Joe and Ferguson were selected in last December’s Rule 5 draft. The former went to the Reds from the Dodgers, while the latter came from the Astros organization. Ferguson would be offered back to Houston if he clears waivers, but every other team in baseball will have a chance to step into his Rule 5 rights.
With a deal coming together at this late stage of camp, it seems likely that Joe has the inside track on a job in San Francisco — perhaps bumping out veteran Pablo Sandoval. New president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is amply familiar with the former Dodger farmhand, having just come over from the L.A. organization. If Joe can make and stay on the MLB roster all year, his rights would move permanently.
Joe, 26, is a former first-round pick who had largely struggled until a breakout 2018 season. In 435 plate appearances in the upper minors, he turned in a robust .299/.408/.527 slash with a career-high 17 home runs and sixty walks to go with 88 strikeouts.
Ferguson is also 26 years of age. The former 19th-rounder put himself on the map with some strong offensive showings, including a .305/.436/.429 run in 292 Triple-A plate appearances last year. But he has struggled since in short stints in the Arizona Fall League, Puerto Rican Winter League, and Cactus League.
On the Cincinnati end of this swap, Johnson will give the organization another upper-minors arm to work with. He earned a call-up to the highest level of the minors after 15 solid starts at Double-A last year, but struggled thereafter. In 58 frames over 11 outings at Triple-A, Johnson managed only a 4.66 ERA with 37 strikeouts against 33 walks.