During his first offseason leading the Giants, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi aggressively remade the back half of the 40-man roster. Among that spate of transactions was the unheralded acquisition of outfielder Mike Yastrzemski in a spring training swap with the Orioles.
In March 2019, San Francisco picked up Yastrzemski in exchange for right-hander Tyler Herb. Then 28 years old, Yastrzemski was a former 14th-round pick who had yet to play a major league game. To the extent that there was any fanfare surrounding his acquisition, it had much more to do with his relation to Carl Yastrzemski than to his play.
The deal now looks like a masterstroke. Over his first 636 MLB plate appearances, Yastrzemski has put up a fantastic .281/.357/.535 slash (135 wRC+) and hit 31 home runs. He has been worth about five wins above replacement over the equivalent of one full season. The left-handed hitter earned an eighth-place finish in NL MVP voting this past season thanks to a .297/.400/.568 line.
Herb, on the other hand, didn’t reach the majors during his two years in the Baltimore organization. The 28-year-old elected minor-league free agency earlier this month, per Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America.
Even if Yastrzemski takes a bit of a step back from his star-level production, he at least looks like an above-average regular. His late-career breakout is another reminder that even the lowest-profile transactions have some chance of being impactful.