Giants place La Stella on release waivers
The Giants officially moved on from Tommy La Stella on Thursday, placing the veteran infielder on unconditional release waivers with a year remaining on his contract.
La Stella, who was designated for assignment last week to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for left-hander Taylor Rogers, will still be owed $11.5 million in 2023, the final year of the heavily backloaded three-year, $18.75 million deal he signed with the Giants in February 2021.
If La Stella catches on elsewhere as a free agent, he will cost his new team only the prorated league minimum for any time spent on the Major League roster.
La Stella’s contract -- tied with outfielder Mitch Haniger for the longest deal given to a free-agent position player under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi -- will go down as a major disappointment for the Giants.
A 2019 All-Star with the Angels, La Stella appeared in only 136 games over two seasons in San Francisco, batting .245 with a .677 OPS while dealing with frequent trips to the injured list. The 33-year-old underwent Achilles surgery on both ankles last offseason, restricting his mobility and exacerbating his defensive limitations on the infield in 2022, when he was worth a career-low -0.8 WAR, according to FanGraphs.
With Joc Pederson expected to serve as the Giants’ primary designated hitter against right-handed pitching, it was hard to see how La Stella would fit on the club’s roster in 2023, especially given the incoming restrictions on defensive shifts. San Francisco also has quite a few other options at second and third base, including Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada, David Villar and J.D. Davis, each of whom should have an easier path to playing time without La Stella on the roster.