The Giants used their bullpen depth to bolster their long-term pitching needs on Saturday, dealing hard-throwing reliever Sam Coonrod to the Phillies in exchange for right-hander Carson Ragsdale, a 2020 fourth-round Draft pick who was ranked as Philadelphia’s No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
Coonrod debuted with the Giants in 2019 and logged a 5.74 ERA over 51 appearances in the Majors. He made national headlines after refusing to kneel during a moment of unity on Opening Day and voicing opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement last summer, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the 28-year-old’s views had no bearing on the Giants’ decision to trade him.
Giants get: RHP Carson Ragsdale
Phillies get: RHP Sam Coonrod
“It was really a trade we made for baseball reasons,” Zaidi said during a Zoom call with reporters.
The Giants lacked dependable right-handed relief options last year, but Zaidi said the calculus changed after signing veterans Matt Wisler and John Brebbia to one-year deals and adding prospects Dedniel Núñez, Camilo Doval, Kervin Castro and Gregory Santos to their 40-man roster this offseason. Reyes Moronta is also expected to return from right shoulder surgery in 2021, adding to the “traffic jam” that ultimately made Coonrod expendable.
“There's a very clear baseball reasoning for this trade, both in terms of trading away from what had become a position of depth and also acquiring a guy who fills a need for us, just kind of having a starting pitching pipeline where we've certainly improved, but still feel like we're a little thin,” Zaidi said.
Ragsdale, who is listed at 6-foot-8, has yet to make his professional debut after being drafted out of the University of South Florida last summer, but he participated in the 2020 Florida Instructional League with the Phillies. The 22-year-old spent his first two collegiate seasons pitching out of the bullpen before moving to the rotation, where he logged a 2.84 ERA over four starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
The Giants took notice of his performance, as Zaidi said the club was considering drafting Ragsdale in the fourth or fifth round last year. Ragsdale will be developed as a starter, adding a high-upside arm to a farm system that’s short on upper-level pitching prospects.
“He's an intriguing pitching prospect because he's relatively new to pitching,” Zaidi said. “He's got a really good fastball, a plus curveball. It has a chance to really be an elite swing-and-miss pitch for him. The ability to spin it is really attractive. It's going to be big for him to develop a third pitch to go along with those two really good foundational pitches.”
Coonrod’s departure clears a spot on the 40-man roster, giving the Giants flexibility to make additional offseason acquisitions in the coming weeks. Zaidi said he believes the Giants still have a surplus of right-handed relievers, which could be used to fill other holes on the roster this winter. The Giants are still hunting for additional rotation depth and have expressed interest in acquiring another left-handed bat for the infield or outfield.
“We still have some things we're looking to do, and I wouldn't be surprised if we wind up needing that 40-man spot in the next couple of weeks,” Zaidi said.