San Francisco Giants: Roster Moves Continue, with a Path Clearing for Jones

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 21: Conor Gillaspie
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 21: Conor Gillaspie /

The roster shuffle continues for the San Francisco Giants, who made a quartet of moves Wednesday night and cleared a path for a young infielder.

After another discouraging and downright boring loss on Wednesday night, the San Francisco Giants announced a series of roster moves in an effort to bring in some new blood. Corner infielder and outfielder Ryder Jones was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento, where he had been playing for the past couple weeks after being optioned down, and outfielder Jarrett Parker was activated from the 60-day disabled list. To open a spot on the 40-man roster for Parker, Conor Gillaspie was designated for assignment, and Jae-gyun Hwang was optioned to Sacramento to clear way for Jones.

In over a season and a half during his second stint with the team that made him a first-round draft pick back in 2008, Gillaspie made quite the impression. He hit .262/.307/.440 in 2016 as mostly a bat off the bat, but saved his biggest hits for the 2016 postseason. His three-run home run off Jeurys Familia in the ninth inning of the Wildcard Game was all the offense Madison Bumgarner needed in a complete game shutout of the New York Mets.

More from Golden Gate Sports

He followed that up with a two-run triple in the eighth inning of game four in the NLDS. Facing Aroldis Chapman‘s blazing fastball, Chapman turned on the heater and blasted it into the gap, scoring a pair and turning a one-run deficit into a one-run lead.

Unfortunately this season, Gillaspie couldn’t replicate that magic. He had a strong Spring Training but dealt with back injuries, and never quite got his swing together when he was on the field. Despite a pair of clutch pinch-hit home runs in recent weeks, one to tie a game with two outs in the ninth and another to break a scoreless tie in the eighth, he was only able to put together a .163/.218/.288 slash-line.

Hwang started his Giants’ career with a bang, hitting a game-winning home run in his first game on June 28th, but also struggled to put together any consistency. He hit .154/.228/.231 while striking out in 26 percent of the time. Even though he played strong defense at the hot corner, his offense left a lot to be desired in his first 18 big league games.

With those two no longer available at third base, that leaves Jones as the main option at the position. He didn’t hit well in his first call-up in June, collecting just one hit in 21 at-bats, but has caught fire since going down to Triple-A. In 11 games with the River Cats, Jones hit .375/.422/.675 with three home runs, three doubles, and 11 RBI while also adding a new position to his repertoire. Six of Jones’ last seven starts in Triple-A came in right field, a position he had played just four times before in his minor league career.

At just 23 years old, Jones has the potential to be in the Giants’ long-term plans, and only brings added value with his ability to man the hot corner, first base, and both corner outfield spots. With Kelby Tomlinson as the only other third baseman on the roster, Jones figures to get his first real, extended look at the big league level.

Parker returns from a rehab stint after breaking his clavicle on April 15th, 13 games into the season. He beat out Mac Williamson for the left field job in Spring Training, but started the regular season ice cold. He had just three hits (one extra-base hit) in 21 at-bats prior to the injury.

On his rehab assignment, Parker hit .232/.353/.357 with three home runs in 133 plate appearances split into two separate stints because of nick stiffness that halted his rehab. Even though the numbers weren’t very good, Parker brings something into the Giants’ lineup that has been sorely lacking: true, raw power. In the major leagues, Parker has hit 11 home runs in 228 plate appearances, and has hit 45 home runs in 948 Triple-A plate appearances.

Next: Giants Get More Bad News on Cueto Front

Parker’s role in the big leagues is unclear, as Gorkys Hernandez is no longer a liability in left field. Parker did play center field a lot during his rehab assignment, and with Denard Span struggling mightily to cover ground, he could be an option there. He can also cover right field if Hunter Pence needs a night off.