The Giants announced Monday that they’ve claimed right-hander Jake Jewell off waivers from the Angels and designated infielder Zack Cozart for assignment to clear roster space. San Francisco acquired Cozart from the Angels earlier this winter, though it was obvious at the time that the trade was effectively a means of purchasing a prospect; the Giants took on the remainder of Cozart’s $12.167MM salary in order to land 2019 first-rounder Will Wilson from the Halos in that swap.
Jewell, 26, has yet to find big league success, as he’s served up 20 runs on 28 hits and eight walks with 23 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings over parts of two seasons with the Angels. Control has been a persistent problem for the 6’3″, 200-pound righty, but scouting reports on him have praised him as possessing a plus fastball and slider. He’ll need to curb the walks and do a better job limiting long balls, but there’s some potential for him to emerge as a viable two-pitch reliever.
Cozart’s days in San Francisco were numbered from the start. The Giants have a full infield with Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Mauricio Dubon and Brandon Belt all first in line for playing time around the diamond. Cozart’s 2016-17 run with the Reds was excellent, albeit injury shortened, but his health troubles have escalated to new heights since signing with the Angels on a three-year, $38MM deal. While some missed time was always going to be likely given his track record, there was little reason to predict that he’d be limited to just 96 games over the first two seasons of the deal.
Injuries haven’t helped Cozart’s productivity any, but the .190/.261/.296 slash he posted in 360 plate appearances with the Halos still registers as a shock, given his prior productivity in Cincinnati. He’ll surely be released within the week, at which point he’ll be free to sign with any club for nothing more than the league minimum (or, more likely, a minor league contract). The Giants will remain on the hook for the aforementioned $12.167MM he’s owed — minus the prorated league minimum for any time he spends in the big leagues with another team.