Giants deal for prospect & Cozart, ink Gausman
By Maria Guardado |@mi_guardado
December 11, 2019
SAN DIEGO -- The Giants struck a balance between addressing their needs for the present and the future on Tuesday, completing a trade and a free-agent signing that brought three new players into the organization on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings.
San Francisco acquired veteran infielder Zack Cozart and 2019 first-round Draft pick Will Wilson from the Angels in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations. Two minutes later, they announced a one-year, $9 million deal with right-hander Kevin Gausman.
The Giants flexed their newfound payroll flexibility in their trade with the Angels, as they assumed the remaining $12.7 million on Cozart's contract to land Wilson, a 21-year-old shortstop who was the 15th overall Draft pick out of North Carolina State this year.
President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the Giants considered drafting Wilson with the 10th overall pick in June, though they ultimately used their first-round selection to snag Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop. Wilson, who is now ranked the club's No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, batted .275 with a .768 OPS and five home runs over 46 games at Rookie-level Orem in his first professional season.
"We had a very strong consensus among our amateur scouting staff about him both offensively and defensively," Zaidi said. "Offensively, we feel like he's potentially a guy who could hit for average and power. In terms of defense, even from a metric standpoint, he played an above-average shortstop in college. I think he definitely stays in the middle of the infield. He's a very skilled player on the defensive side of the ball. Very strong makeup reports on him as well.
"For us to get a guy that we were considering with our first-round pick last year, it's a pretty exciting opportunity for us."
Cozart, 34, hit only .124 over 38 games for the Angels this year and missed the bulk of the season after undergoing left shoulder surgery, but he was an All-Star in 2017 and played all over the infield when healthy in Anaheim. Zaidi said Cozart has resumed swinging a bat but still has a "ways to go" in his rehab. It's unclear if Cozart will fit into the Giants' plans for 2020, as they already have two other right-handed hitters -- Mauricio Dubon and Evan Longoria -- in their infield mix.
Asked if he expects Cozart to be on the 40-man roster come Spring Training, Zaidi said, "I don't want to speculate on that. Our plan right now is to just kind of help him in his rehab and bring him along. Health provided, he can really help us next year."
Gausman, who turns 29 in January, was non-tendered by the Reds last month after logging a 5.72 ERA over 102 1/3 innings between Atlanta and Cincinnati in 2019. His contract guarantees him slightly below the $10.6 million MLB Trade Rumors projected him to earn through arbitration. Gausman's deal also includes up to $1 million in performance bonuses: $250,000 each for 18, 22, 26 and 30 games started as a pitcher.
Gausman finished the 2019 campaign in the Reds' bullpen, but the Giants will use him out of the rotation and give him an opportunity to rebuild his value as a starter. If he pitches well, he could end up becoming a trade chip at the 2020 Trade Deadline. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz also signed a one-year contract with the Giants last offseason and was traded to the Brewers in exchange for Dubón in July.
"The plan is for him to start," Zaidi said. "He had success as a reliever, but we think some of the adjustments he made and better locating his split late in the year, that's something he can carry over to the starting role. He's been a starter his whole career and that's obviously a need of ours, too."
Gausman is projected to slot behind veterans Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija in the Giants' rotation next season, though Zaidi said he's still having discussions with other free-agent starters, including left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
Given their financial resources, the Giants could also be a potential trade partner for a team like the Red Sox, who are reportedly shopping left-hander David Price in an attempt to shed payroll this offseason. Price, 34, is owed $96 million over the next three years, so the Red Sox could follow the Angels' example and attempt to move him by packaging him with a younger asset.
"I don't think we're done," Zaidi said.