Giants Claim Jharel Cotton, Designate Willie Calhoun

Darragh McDonald

Darragh McDonald

The Giants announced a series of roster moves, claiming right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton off waivers from the Twins. In a corresponding move, outfielder Willie Calhoun was designated for assignment. Additionally, infielder Jose Rojas, who was designated for assignment on Friday, cleared waivers and elected free agency. Maria I. Guardado of was among those who relayed the full slate of moves.

Cotton, 30, has been on and off the Twins’ roster all year long, having been designated for assignment for the fourth time this year just a few days ago. In the previous three instances, he cleared waivers and was outrighted, later getting re-selected to the roster. However, they couldn’t successfully pass him through waivers a fourth time, with the Giants sneaking in for an interception on this one.

In between all those transactions, Cotton has gotten strong results. In 35 big league innings this year, he has a 2.83 ERA, though there’s probably some good fortune in there. His 21.5% strikeout rate, 11.1% walk rate and 29.5% ground ball rate are all worse than league average, but a .182 batting average on balls in play and an 89.7% strand rate have kept him from allowing too many earned runs. His Triple-A work this season is actually much more impressive, as he has a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings with a 37.1% strikeout rate, 9.5% walk rate and 23.5% ground ball rate. The Giants will take a shot on him and see if he can bring some of those punchouts from the minors up to the majors. There’s just over two weeks remaining here in 2022 but Cotton could be retained for next year via arbitration if the Giants wish.

Calhoun, 27, was designated for assignment by the Rangers in June, clearing waivers and getting outrighted to the minors. A couple of weeks later, he was traded to the Giants, who selected him to the big league roster a week ago. Calhoun hit well for the Sacramento River Cats, slashing .299/.386/.465 for a wRC+ of 115 in 41 games. However, since coming up to join the Giants, he’s hit .125/.222/.125. That’s a tiny sample of just nine plate appearances in four games, but the club has decided to move on regardless. Calhoun will now head out onto the waiver wire a second time this year, though he’d be eligible to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency if he clears again, as is the right of any player who has previously been outrighted in his career.

As for Rojas, 29, he was just claimed off waivers from the Angels a couple of weeks ago and has been in Sacramento since then. In 22 big league games with the Halos before the claim, he hit just .125/.140/.161. He’s fared much better in the minors, hitting .274/.346/.569 between the two organizations this year. Since he was outrighted by the Angels earlier this year before being re-selected to the roster, he now is eligible to elect free agency instead of accepting an outright assignment.

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