For much of the season Cardinals fans complained that the team never gave Triple-A shortstop Ryan Jackson a shot to replace Pete Kozma and now he’ll never get the chance.
He was claimed off waivers by the Astros, whose general manager Jeff Luhnow ran the Cardinals’ farm system when Jackson was drafted in the fifth round.
Jackson hardly projects as an impact player, but he’s considered a quality defensive shortstop and has hit .275 with a .714 OPS in 238 games at Triple-A. Last time the Astros claimed a Cardinals shortstop it was Tyler Greene and that didn’t go so well, but Jackson probably has a pretty good opportunity to win an Opening Day roster spot in Houston.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.