The San Francisco Giants made a series of rather odd roster moves on Wednesday night, claiming left-handed starter Jose De Paula off waivers from the San Diego Padres and adding six-year minor-league free agent Erik Cordier to their 40-man roster. As a result, catcher Johnny Monell and outfielder Francisco Peguero were designated for assignment.
The biggest head-scratcher was the team’s decision to sign Cordier and put him right onto the 40-man. The hefty reliever, who will be 28 years old by the time next year’s spring training rolls around, possesses a career ERA of 4.29 over 10 years of professional baseball. He had a 4.58 ERA while striking out 65 and walking 28 over 44 relief appearances for the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, last season. It’s extremely odd that a team would add a 10-year career minor-leaguer to their big-league roster during the offseason, and it makes it all the more interesting that Cordier hasn’t really experienced any prolonged success in the minors. If there’s anything beyond the stats that made Cordier intriguing to the Giants, it probably lies in the scouting report that former Giants minor-leaguer Doug Mathis put out on Twitter on Wednesday night:
— Doug Mathis (@DMathis0603) November 28, 2013
De Paula, meanwhile, is just 23 years old, and would seem to have significant upside. He’s 6-foot-1 and just 170 pounds, so he still theoretically has the ability to fill out and develop into more of a power pitcher. He hasn’t experienced a remarkable amount of minor league success thus far, though while pitching in Double-A last season he was solid, putting up a 3.86 ERA over 14 starts. While he struck out just 57 batters in 74.2 innings, it was more impressive that he walked only 11. With the Giants having let veteran lefty Jose Mijares go on Tuesday, they likely were looking for a backup option should injury-plagued left-hander Jeremy Affeldt go down once again in 2014.
As far as Peguero and Monell, neither of their designations were huge surprises. At one point, Peguero was the Giants’ most intriguing outfield prospect, and he inspired the belief that he may be ready to be a legitimate big-league contributor by hitting .328 in spring training and .443 in his first month at Triple-A, but he never received a real opportunity to prove himself as a major-leaguer. After going 3-for-16 with the Giants in 2012, he went 6-for-29 in 2013. He hit his first big-league home run in the final game of the Giants’ 2013 season, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough to save him. The Giants presumably decided that Peguero didn’t have a chance to make their opening day roster in 2014, and with him being out of options it doesn’t make sense for them to keep him on the 40-man roster through spring training. With that said, he’s still just 25 years old and has some quality tools, so if he clears waivers, Peguero may be a guy who the Giants want to keep in the system a bit longer to see if he can put it together.
For Monell, the writing had pretty much been on the wall for his 40-man standing since the Giants decided to bring Guillermo Quiroz back on a minor-league deal earlier this month. The Giants will have highly-regarded catching prospect Andrew Susac at Triple-A next year, and with Quiroz in the fold to split time with him, they don’t need Monell around as an insurance policy if Buster Posey or Hector Sanchez go down. Monell, who will be 28 next March, went 1-for-8 during limited major-league action this past September, and while he has some legitimate power potential, his defensive skills aren’t very polished. With the catching depth that the Giants possess, it may be best for Monell to find another opportunity, as has big-league backup potential that likely will never be realized in a Giants’ uniform.