The Giants announced that they’ve designated right-hander Dan Winkler for assignment Thursday. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to lefty Sam Selman, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Sacramento. The Giants also placed outfielder Alex Dickerson on the 10-day injured list due to an oblique strain.
Winkler’s DFA comes less than 24 hours after the Giants acquired him in the trade that sent Mark Melancon to Atlanta. Jettisoning Winkler underscores that the move was largely one about finances for the Giants, who were stunningly able to unload the entirety of Melancon’s remaining $18.3MM on the Braves.
The 29-year-old Winkler has struggled in 2019, pitching to an ugly 4.98 ERA with a 22-to-11 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings of relief this season. He’s had similar struggles in Triple-A (4.86 ERA, 20-to-18 K/BB in 16 2/3 innings) but is not far removed from a strong 2018 showing. Last season, Winkler pitched to a 3.43 earned run average (and a 2.76 FIP) with 10.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.45 HR/9 and a 38.3 percent ground-ball rate. He has minor league options remaining beyond the 2019 season, making it somewhat surprising that the Giants apparently aren’t planning to take a look at him. Winkler can’t be traded to another organization under this season’s new trade structure but can be claimed on outright waivers.
Selman will be making his MLB debut as a 28-year-old rookie after posting some jaw-dropping numbers in the minors. After tossing seven shutout innings in Double-A, he moved up to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and turned in 40 frames of 1.35 ERA ball with 65 strikeouts (14.6 K/9) against 13 walks (2.9 BB/9). He’s benefited from a minuscule .203 BABIP and an 86 percent strand rate, but Selman’s ability to miss bats and limit walks is intriguing.
As for Dickerson, he’s not expected to miss more than 10 days with his current ailment (Twitter link via Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News). The 29-year-old has been a godsend for the Giants and helped to fuel San Francisco’s surge back into the Wild Card picture, hitting .346/.402/.664 with six homers, 10 doubles and three triples in 117 plate appearances.
That level of output isn’t likely to be maintained, as Dickerson’s .413 average on balls in play is the fourth-highest of any hitter in baseball (min. 100 PAs). He’s also battled significant injury issues throughout his career. That said, he does have an outstanding Triple-A track record (.333/.398/.541 in 892 PAs) and enjoyed some big league success with the Padres back in 2016. He’s controlled three more seasons beyond 2019, making him an intriguing find for the Giants even if (or when) his bat regresses to some extent.