LAS VEGAS -- Earlier this week, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi joked that the team had enough vacancies on its 40-man roster to "take four or five guys" during the Rule 5 Draft.The Giants were certainly more active than expected on Thursday, selecting left-handed reliever Travis Bergen from
LAS VEGAS -- Earlier this week, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi joked that the team had enough vacancies on its 40-man roster to "take four or five guys" during the Rule 5 Draft.
The Giants were certainly more active than expected on Thursday, selecting left-handed reliever Travis Bergen from the Blue Jays and outfielder Drew Ferguson from the Astros during the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Assistant general manager Jeremy Shelley, who has worked for the Giants since 1994, said he couldn't personally recall another instance in which the club made more than one pick during the Rule 5 Draft.
"We feel like between the center fielder and the left-handed reliever, you got two premium position-type guys," Shelley said before departing the Winter Meetings. "You're just looking to improve the overall depth of the roster. I think that's the biggest thing. With two picks, I think we accomplished that here in the draft."
Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000. Bergen and Ferguson will both be in big league camp during Spring Training and will be given the opportunity to compete for jobs.
Bergen, 25, was a seventh-round Draft pick of the Blue Jays in 2015 out of Kennesaw State University. He mixes a low- to mid-90s fastball with a curveball and posted an 0.95 ERA over 56 2/3 innings in 43 appearances between Class A Advanced Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire. Bergen could help give the Giants' bullpen some coverage from the left side if they end up dealing Will Smith or Tony Watson, both of whom have been the subject of trade rumors this week.
"He's a two-pitch guy, swing-and-miss stuff," Shelley said of Bergen. "I think we got a potential bullpen guy from the left side. … He has even splits in his career. He can get both lefties and righties out. He punched out, I want to say, 11.8 per nine. Low walk rate. His fastball, the swing-and-miss [rate] was double the Major League average."
• History of the Rule 5 Draft
A 19th-round Draft pick of the Astros in 2015 out of Belmont University, Ferguson is a career .297 hitter with a .393 on-base percentage in the Minors. In 2018, he batted .305 with an .866 OPS and four home runs in 65 games with Triple-A Fresno. The right-handed hitter appeared in nine games in the Arizona Fall League and is now accumulating more reps by playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.
"His plate discipline is very attractive," Shelley said. "His defensive versatility is very attractive. He can play three spots. We're light on outfielders. We'll bring him into camp, let him compete and see how he does. I think he'll be an attractive piece for [manager Bruce Bochy] to evaluate in camp."
Ferguson, 26, was the second outfielder acquired by the Giants this week, as they also claimed Mike Gerber from the Tigers on Monday. They both share two traits that Zaidi has made clear he will value as he works to construct the Giants' roster: defensive versatility and the ability to get on base. The club's outfield mix now includes Steven Duggar, Austin Slater, Mac Williamson, Chris Shaw, Gerber and Ferguson, though Zaidi is hoping to add more experienced options this offseason.
In the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Giants selected third baseman Peter Maris from the Rays and left-hander Sam Moll from the Blue Jays. They also lost relievers Ian Gardeck and Dusten Knight and outfielder Jeffrey Baez.
Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.