The Giants announced Monday that they’ve acquired first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin from the Twins in exchange for minor league outfielder Malique Ziegler. To open a spot on the roster, they’ve designated fellow first baseman/outfielder Connor Joe for assignment.
Austin, 27, will add a powerful but strikeout-prone bat to the Giants’ outfield mix while providing some insurance should Brandon Belt incur an injury. The former Yankees prospect was at one point looked at as a potential pairing with Greg Bird in the Bronx, but the Yankees flipped him to the Twins last July in the trade that sent Lance Lynn to New York. The Twins, cognizant of the potential retirement of Joe Mauer, viewed Austin as a possible option at first base until they managed to land C.J. Cron on waivers when the Rays dumped his salary. Both Cron and Austin are right-handed hitters, and Minnesota’s signing of Nelson Cruz to man the DH spot in the lineup made Austin, who is out of minor league options, somewhat redundant.
Last season in 268 plate appearances between the Twins and Yankees, Austin batted a combined .230/.287/.480 with 17 home runs and 10 doubles. Seventeen long balls in just 268 PAs and a .250 isolated power (slugging minus batting average) speak to Austin’s ability to make loud contact, but Austin also punched out in a whopping 35.4 percent of his trips to the plate.
Austin has been more of a first baseman than an outfielder throughout his career and, in fact, has only seen 36 frames of action on the outfield grass in the Majors. He’s logged over 2600 innings of time in right field across parts of seven minor league seasons, however, so despite a lack of recent experience, he’s no stranger to the position. That said, Austin does not run well, and his lack of range is a tough fit in the spacious Oracle Park.
Joe, 26, made his big league debut with the Giants this season but managed just one hit and a walk in 16 plate appearances before being jettisoned from the roster. The Reds selected Joe out of the Dodgers organization in December’s Rule 5 Draft but traded him to San Francisco late last month. He’s still carrying Rule 5 status, so any team that acquires Joe would need to carry him on the MLB roster. The Giants will have a week to trade him or pass him through waivers, and if he goes unclaimed, they’d be required to offer him back to the Dodgers for $50K. Considering Joe’s outstanding .299/.408/.527 batting line between Double-A and Triple-A last season, it’s possible that another organization will want to speculate on his potential.
The Twins, in return for Austin, will add another athletic outfielder to the lower levels of their minor league system. The 22-year-old Ziegler was a 22nd-round pick by the Giants in 2016 and split last year between the Rookie-level Arizona League and the Class-A South Atlantic League, batting a combined .237/.340/.370 with four homers, 12 doubles, a pair of triples and eight steals in 250 plate appearances. He’s not considered a top prospect in a thin Giants farm, though Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen did make mention of him in his pre-2018 overview of the Giants’ system: “Ziegler is a lithe, athletic outfielder who was a late pick out of an Iowa Juco in 2016. He makes explosive use of his lower half during his swing but his barrel control and raw strength are questionable.”
not a good year to be a Rule 5 Pick, if there ever was one
Joe didn’t get a long run w Giants but watching him play it was clear he wasn’t an immediate solution to their pretty severe outfield deficiencies.
I think the Chokees whiffed on Austin. He might be older than Bird but I think he’s better.
No he’s not. Similar bat and Bird is better defensively
Saying Bird is better defensively than anything other than a ham sandwich is fiction.
I’m all-in for the Yankee bashing, but he was just DFAd by Minny. hard to imagine that they NYY are really missing him.
Unless you are Tyler’s dad.
I don’t understand the ‘Chokees” moniker. It’s not like the Yankees are known for choking, quite the opposite actually. Unless you’re calling them that like some really big guys are called “Tiny”. This coming from someone that definitely is nowhere near a Yankee fan
There was that one time against the Marlins..
Except that all sports franchises choke some times, even the best of the best, same goes for even the best players.
Take that L to everyone who said this wouldn’t happen in the post about him getting DFA’d.. LLLLLLLL I WAS RIGHT
Want a trophy?
Take that 72 hour psych hold
Joe wasn’t any good. He does have a really good eye at the plate, but hasn’t put it together.
Sorry to see former Pirate farmhand Joe sent down. I am hoping that he is able to forge a MLB career.
You won’t be missed Conor Joe, go develop for a couple more years kid.
Where did you come from, where did you go? Where did you come from Connor Joe?
This was the kind of move Giants fans were hoping to get from Farhan. If Austin can cut hit SO rare, he has 30 homer potential. Has already flashed power at the biggest level, and can platoon with Parra.
“This” is what they were hoping from Farhan? I doubt it, he’s just treading water until he can rebuild a farm system. He’ll make a few major trades (MadBum and maybe Belt) this season and start the restock.
We’re ok with that. However, there’s a lot more he can hopefully trade, like Pomeranz, Holland, Smith, Watson, etc. We have starting potential in minors, and hopefully he can trade for more hitting potential. Reed, Joe, etc, never had a chance.
Reed and Joe were in over their heads at this time in the majors….. more developmental in the minors could help both of them
Antibelt, first off your name shows that you are blind to the fact that when healthy Belt is one of the top 10 1B in the league overall with D and offense.
But passing that up, the Giants have hardly any starting arms in the minors, and they traded one of their better pitching prospects last summer trying to get rid of salary to Texas. Anderson and Beede may have #3 type starting potential, but that is all that are close right now. Logan Webb is probably their best bet for a #1 right now in the minors and he is likely a year or two away.
Ah, yes. The familiar refrain of the fan of a rebuilding team. As a Twins fan, I know it well: “Hey, let’s throw our garbage our and rebuild our farm that way!”
Bumgarner might generate some trade deadline buzz. Everybody else you mention is serviceable, but probably not a difference maker to a contender. Belt, Pomeranz, Holland, Smith, and Watson….I would expect maybe an A-Ball prospect for each. Maybe a double-A guy for Belt.
Austin has power but can’t hit for average or walk. Unless the Giants see something in his swing he will be just another player come and gone.
I agree with you on his potential, but San Francisco isn’t the place for him to thrive… 20 maximum if he theoretically plays all 162, and he’ll give back all the RBI’s he produced with the runs he’ll allow playing in that outfield
Vandals Took The Handles
I have no idea what that GM is doing.
The dimensions and the air in the Giants park (forget what they’re calling it this year) negate most of the power of a guy like Austin. What they need is line drive contact hitters that can hit the ball down the line and in the gaps then run all day. Austin can hit the ball in the gap 400 feet away and he might not make it to 2B.
The Giants didn’t give up much of value, but it would be nice if the new FO started bringing in the types of players that can help the team playing in that park.
I think that’s what they’re doing, they just have no viable resources to put towards acquiring high caliber/desirable players, so this as close as they can get for now
Yeah, we need another strikeout artist, and another slow outfielder. Some of his moves are way past bizarre.
@hpafs: I don’t think anyone since Bonds has hit 3o HR in a season at Oracle, and I don’t think any current Giant (Austin included), even has a shot at 20.
The problem is that the Giants get all these new players, platoon them/pinch hit and the get a few at bats and then get sent down/trade/etc.. they need to make a lineup for facing LH pitching and one for RH pitching. Let it ride for awhile and let players get in a groove, and get consistent at bats. Not play 1 game, sit the bench for 2 games, play half a game, pinch hit and accumulate 10 to 15 at bats in a 10-game stretch. Very few will play good and have good at-bats playing like this. Hopefully he does better then these other players they’re trying. The Giants need help bad that lineup is horrific. They all look lost at the plate
LH and RH lineups pretty much lead to inconsistent playing time. Especially when other teams are pounding the giants with lefty starters. You kinda contradicted yourself.
What I meant was say a lefty is pitching you have like Posey / longo/ Austin batting 3/4/5 but RH pitcher switch em up belt Posey and longo. You Know what I mean ?? Lol keep the same players in the lineup just depends on who’s pitching on what order in the lineup they hit
I hear ya, there’s no consistency for the guys that need regular ab’s
One of the few things bochy doesn’t do well is have patience with youngsters
As far as Conner Joe is concerned I agree. Initially he was a multi s.o. guarantee but had started at least making better contact. There’s also the matter of establishing some kind of chemistry on the team… If you’re gonna make a move make a damn move that improve a 3-7 team significantly.
Solarte needs more at-bats his bat is too good (for that team) not to be playing everyday. Need to give Longoria and Crawford more days off their, stick is weak and declining majorly..
Love Solarte. He’s fun to watch, full of life
Crawford currently has the highest BA on the Giants, so I’m not with u on that one, but solarte and even Sandoval definitely need more ab’s
Why let facts ruin a good opinion ?
Craw 34 ABs
…. Craw may have a slightly lower BA than Solarte but he the other two don’t even have enough ABs to qualify this early in the season to be a top stats guy on the team. But don’t let facts get in the way of that.
Could see the Jays going after Joe. They have the space to give him a shot. Maybe send Gurriel down. He’s been a mess so far.
I can see Gurriel going to Buffalo for Vlad in a week or so.
Why does “doesn’t run well and his lack of range is a tough fit for Oracle Park” not make me sparkle with joy over this acquisition?
what Brandon Belt injury?
Story said “…a Brandon belt injury…”. In other words, if and when.
If history is any indication, just give it time.
Does anyone know much about this guy? He once stole 23 bases in minors (albeit 2012) but the writer says Austin doesn’t run well which obviously doesn’t help if he plays OF. Is there an injury history?
No significant injury history he just got older and filled out like most players do. Speed is absolutely not his forte and playing in the OF in any park is not advisable, let alone Oracle Park. He is a 1B/DH and only that.
I feel like the twins got nothing for Austin. They couldn’t squeeze some international spending or something?
They’re lucky any team wanted to trade anything for a guy who can’t get on base, has an unimpressive track record at high levels and can’t play any valuable defensive position.
But, in return, the Twins should probably be able to get a major league lottery ticket. Not an AA lottery ticket.
Browse the Giants roster and point to a ML lottery ticket. Hint: all the Giants have are minor league lottery tickets.
You are overrating the heck out of Austin… who is just as likely to be permanently relegated to MiLB roster filler as he is to ever play in MLB again after this season.
Ziegler is a lotto ticket, he has some potential, good eye, speed, defense. And he is still 5 years younger than Austin.
Does Connor Joe have to be sent back to the Dodgers?
Read the article?
“He’s still carrying Rule 5 status, so any team that acquires Joe would need to carry him on the MLB roster. The Giants will have a week to trade him or pass him through waivers, and if he goes unclaimed, they’d be required to offer him back to the Dodgers for $50K.”
Dodgers likely won’t have room. Hell get stashed in Sacramento with Reed.
Must be an odd range of emotions to get DFA’d immediately after your first major league hit.
Not if it took you nearly 20 ABs to get it…
Good luck to Tyler in San Fran.
Gonna Be a L.———-O———-N———-G season for Giants fans.
May see some things happen at the trade deadline that are gonna hurt in the short term.
Take a picture of Bochy now, because by the time the season is over, he’ll be so frazzled, wrinkled and worn that you won’t recognize him. In fact he just may retire DURING the season out of frustration and give his organizational (or out of work) heir apparent an opportunity to hit the ground running with the current team..
To all you regular Giants/Twins followers, I did forcast Austin ending up with the Giants on many occasions and was ridiculed.. Right move, wrong move or indifferent, I still predicted it. Although Austin played NO OF this spring with the Twinkies, the Giants must feel that in addition to a platoon alternative to Belt, they are willing to risk less than stellar OF defense from Austin – especially when he shares the OF with Duggar and Pillar. After all – What else do they REALLY have?
Hopefully, the collective user base of MLBTradeRumors will realize your powerful insight one day and grant you a special title and a marble throne to sit upon.
Really Zaidi, Tyler Austin!!! Another out of minor league options player.
.250 (1-4) … only hit was 2B … 0 HR … 0 RBI … 3 K … 1 BB
I guess Austin is supposed to be an upgrade over Joe … must be because Austin was hitting.250 and Joe .067 (1-15) … then Zaidi considered Austin an upgrade. Zaidi must be basing his trade on “potential”. And definitely not on Austin’s lack of range and doesn’t run well.
Tune in for the next major Zaidi transaction.
Look on the bright side, if hes hitting .250, he’s an upgrade for a team that’s currently hitting .208 as a club.
Cup half full, man. Cup half full.
Does it really matter? The Giants pretty much suck, and nothing will help them for at least a year or two. The best thing you can do is to trade for guys you think have some upside.
This. Fans who watched this team since the second half of 2016 shouldn’t be surprised that one offseason wasn’t enough to make them contenders. Folks that expect a competitive/interesting team this season, much less in the first ten games of the year, are totally out to lunch. Get ready for a year of trying to find diamonds in the rough, trying to deepen the roster, and find value in trade opportunities.
The good news is well drop the bandwagon fans
It will be like the old days at Candlestick – hopefully beer prices drop
As long as there are shlemiels who will pay $20 for a beer, that will be the going price.
I got a $30 lower box ticket for 28 rows from home plate for Friday. Hopefully it will be somewhat worth watching.
Joe was done in SF as soon as his lapse in concentration caused him to fail to see the play developing in front of him. He did not make the throw behind the runner to 2nd which would have been a double play. Bumgarner would have been out of the inning, would not have surrendered a GS. Unearned runs as his ERA is still well under 2
Giants using the one red paperclip approach to the rebuild
Already have Sandoval and Solarte on the roster. No need for Austin unless there are plans to deal/release/demote on of those guys. Meh, Faidi Zaidi is a “genius” according to many. I’m sure the franchise is in good hands.
I thought Shaw and Williamson provided the same power\SO potential as Austin. Why trade for yet another one in their mold and not give them the AB. I suspect Shaw could get close to 20 HR, a BA of 230 and 30% K rate. Williamson might reach 15 HR, 250 BA and only 25% K rate. In fact, I am hopeful that Williamson can put it together and reach 280-290 BA to go with those 15-18 HR. His problem is staying healthy. Whereas Belt runs into baseballs head first, Williamson runs into walls using his shoulder. LOL.
Agreed. This feels like Williamson 2.0
Agreed, Mac Williamson might even be better if he can shake concussion symptoms by mid-season.
I think the difference it that Zaidi inherited Shaw and Williamson and has no allegiance to them. He wants to see what he can pick up on the cheap, and he wants credit for uncovering the next Muncy or Taylor.
I don’t know how this will play out but he did have one more HR than Longo’s team leading 16, and he did it in 200 less at bats. Different parks and different leagues of course. This may not be the worst move so far.
Maybe he’ll play at 1b and Belt would get some reps in left if Austin doesn’t run well. Joe was overwhelmed at this point. 3 pitch K yesterday, strike 2 split the plate in half. The defensive lapse in LA leading to 5 runs. Parra not exactly tearing the cover off the ball either. Zaidi going to keep bringing these types of guys in until someone stakes a claim. Bottom line is that the guys making the most $$$ on this team are the ones stinking it up. Longoria had an awful series against TB. Buster cannot find any rhythm and hasn’t flashed much pop. I can handle Belts 225 or whatever because he has at least had some key hits that won 2 of their 3 wins. Crawford has a good average but no RBI’s or HR’s. Panik rolling over on too many pitches and hitting weak ground balls. The core guys need to do something
Yeah Longo is horrible and Posey not much better. Posey has quit trying to go the other way at the plate. In a clutch situation you can depend on a double play grounder to third/short or a strikeout.
It was obvious during that series that Longoria doesn’t want to be in San Francisco and it continues to show in how he plays. He needs to get over being traded, that’s the game, you’re paid millions suck it up buttercup
Personally think Austin is underrated. The defensive shift hurts him however, but he also doesn’t get enough AB’s. Don’t know why some managers think platoon players work in the long run, where you’re essentially expected to get good or better with less at bats than you normally would. Considering baseball is one of, if not the toughest sport to play, platoon roles then should be short term not long term, especially for young talents like Austin. He’s probably going to struggle more vs righties, I agree, but the more AB’s he gets regardless of LHP and RHP, the better he’ll get imo. He might have a low .230 average, especially if he gets exterme shifted frequently since he’s a heavy pull hitter, but give him enough playing time and I believe he can hit 20 and even 25 bombs. and get on base frequently.
He strikes out in over 1/3 of his at-bats. He most certainly will not get on base frequently.
yea probably not a high average, but he still has a good eye and decent OBP. Plus, he’s been mostly given a platoon role throughout his career.
Panik/Sandoval/Longoria/kratz all need to go. Why didn’t they just bring back hundley?? He did pretty good for them. Kratz is garbage. Panik is about as weak as you can get reminds me of a poor man’s David Eckstein. Sandoval looks like 260lbs of chewed bubble gum with no range at any position he plays, swings at balls every at bat. Longoria career is on the down slope.. They need to draft heavy on college hitters first 5 picks. They need help offensively bad, it’s quite embarrassing watching them play.
Don’t expect much from Zaidi. He didn’t create the current Giants situation but he won’t help it either.
He’ll at least cycle through some of it. Don’t know how much more you can expect given what it is.
So. Cal. Giants fan
Longo is absolutely terrible! The Rays must have been slapping hands during the weekend series while saying, “man, how did we sucker Bobby Evans and the Giants organization into trading for an over the hill slug? What were they thinking, lol?” That is almost as classic as the dodgers signing Kevin Brown and Jason Schmidt years ago! But now we’re stuck with his contract too.
You win some, you lose some.
Will Smith acquired for Andrew Susac and Phil Bickford…..
Good riddance Connor Joe. It wasn’t even the multiple at bats where he was clearly way over matched that made me cringe. It was when I saw him throw a 77 bouncer to 2b on a routine play. Not to mention dropping a ball while playing 1b. Rule 5 or not, Joe had no business breaking camp with a big league team.
If you want to find the next Muncy, you need to uncover a player that can mash but hasn’t been given the chance. Not saying that’s Joe, but you can see what Zaidi was thinking with him and with Austin.
How many of the Giants’ farmhands (except maybe Duggar) “have any business breaking camp with a big league team”?
Deck chairs on the Titanic. Doesn’t even matter at this point.
Bring up Austin Slater and give him a chance to play. He’s the kinda hitter that would excel in Oracle Park, plus his defense is good and he has a canon for an arm. He’s exactly what there looking for.
So. Cal. Giants fan
For whatever reason Slater is in Botchy’s doghouse. Never has given him a decent chance to be successful. The Giants are in deep trouble on/off the field. Lots of empty seats. The stadium was 1/4 empty at the start of yesterday’s game and 3/4 empty by the 8th inning. You can also get tickets for tonight’s game, behind the plate, for $50 bucks.
I totally agree with you, when you get in Bochy’s dog house your basically done. Slater has a great glove in the outfield and at first base. This will be my 57th year rooting for the Giants and I hate when they don’t give these kids a fair chance to prove themselves
They need to play regularly and get 400 at bats to prove themselves. They have given up on so many players that have become successful on other teams. George Foster, Dave Kingman etc etc etc.
What are the Giants doing? Getting rid of the young and keeping the old core players that’s not producing….. way to go Giants…….. should be the other way around. after these past losing years, well just add another losing year to that.
Lets be fair, theres nothing that the Giants could have done this offseason to avoid a losing season this year. Realistically, .500 was a longshot. And the notion that a young “lottery ticket” prospect is automatically valuable is nonsensical. These move are adding incremental depth and value in the high minors.
Cool!! Now that they’re back in the same division, Tyler and Joe Kelly can resume practicing their abiding love for each other.
I think this is a good deal for the Giants and makes them incrementally better. If given a chance, Tyler Austin is an offensive upgrade over the Giants current lineup. I don’t know what the Twins see in Malique Ziegler. This seems like a Twins player dump.
This last year of the Bochy era is getting ugly. When Moronta gave up the home run to Reyes last night, Bumgarner immediately picked up his glove and left the dug out. probably went into the club house and broke stuff…
Austin es un jugador con mucho poder que si esta saludable puede ayudar bastante!