The Marlins finalized their two-year, $16 million deal with right-hander Brad Ziegler on Friday, designating left-hander Elvis Araujo for assignment in the process. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Araujo will play for the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball in 2017.
The 25-year-old southpaw operated out of the Phillies’ bullpen in 2015 and 2016, posting a 5.60 ERA, 9.5 SO/9 and 5.6 BB/9 in 27 1/3 innings with Philadelphia last season. The Marlins claimed him off waivers in November when they were looking for an additional lefty to complement rookie left-hander Hunter Cervenka‘s efforts in the ‘pen. Now, however, it appears the club has changed their tune. Per Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel, president of baseball operations Michael Hill isn’t looking for a set number of right- and left-handed relievers when it comes to the composition of his relief corps, telling reporters, “Handedness didn’t come into play as much as finding the highest quality [reliever].”
No contract details were given regarding Araujo’s deal with the Chunichi Dragons, but he is currently the only former major leaguer slated for the 2017 roster following the release of middle infielder Anderson Hernandez, right-hander Juan Jaime and left-hander Leyson Septimo.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.