The Giants announced a flurry of roster moves, claiming infielder Kean Wong from the Angels and right-hander Trevor Oaks from the Royals. The Giants also formally announced their previously reported claim of righty Rico Garcia from the Rockies organization. In order to open space on for the trio of new additions, San Francisco designated outfielder Mike Gerber and right-hander Ricardo Pinto for assignment.
Wong’s time in the Angels organization will ultimately last barely more than a month. The Halos claimed him from the Rays near the end of the season, and the 24-year-old went hitless in four plate appearances in the lone game for which he suited up with the team. Wong, the younger brother of Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, was the Rays’ fourth-round pick back in the 2013 draft and made his MLB debut as a September call-up with Tampa Bay. Between his six games with the Rays and one game with the Angels, he went 3-for-18.
Wong spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Durham, where he logged his second consecutive above-average season at the plate. After hitting .282/.345/.406 with nine homers, 23 doubles, three triples and seven steals in 2018, he turned in a .307/.375/.464 slash with 10 homers, 29 doubles, six triples and six steals in 2019. Offense was elevated throughout the league in Triple-A this season, but Wong’s output checked in at 16 percent better than league average, as measured by wRC+. Primarily been a second baseman in his minor league career, Wong began logging time at third base and in the outfield beginning in 2018 as the Rays looked to enhance his versatility.
Oaks, meanwhile, is a known commodity for Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. The 26-year-old Oaks was a seventh-round pick by Zaidi’s former club, the Dodgers, back in 2014 and was traded to Kansas City in a three-team swap while Zaidi was serving as general manager under L.A. president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman.
At the time of that trade, which sent Scott Alexander to Los Angeles, Oaks was ranked in the middle of the Dodgers’ farm system. He looked like a potential back-of-the-rotation option but has seen his prospect status derailed by hip surgery that wiped out his 2019 season. He was healthy enough to take the ball in the Arizona Fall League this year, though, where he allowed six earned runs on 14 hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings of work.
Oaks was hit hard in his MLB debut in 2018 but did put together 128 1/3 innings of 3.23 ERA ball with Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate that season. Unfortunately, he averaged a dismal 4.9 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 along the way — though his 50.8 percent ground-ball rate was a bit more encouraging. For now, Oaks will add some upper-level depth to the Giants roster.
None of the three players claimed today, however, should be considered any kind of lock to survive the winter on the Giants’ roster. Zaidi and his staff have been known to aggressively claim players off waivers in hopes of successfully passing that player through waivers themselves shortly thereafter as a means of keeping those new talents without dedicating a 40-man roster spot.
As for the players cut loose — neither is particularly surprising. Gerber, 27, went 1-for-24 in his brief time with the Giants at the MLB level, though he did author an impressive .308/.368/.569 batting line with 26 homers in Triple-A. The former Tigers prospect had never hit much in Triple-A before that, however, and he’ll turn 28 next summer.
Pinto, meanwhile, was a September waiver claim out of the Rays organization who never pitched in a game for San Francisco. He allowed four runs in 2 1/3 innings with Tampa Bay this season in addition to 123 1/3 innings of 4.23 ERA ball at the Triple-A level. The Giants have seven days to trade, release or waive Gerber and Pinto.