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SF Giants claim 1B/OF/3B Taylor Jones off waivers from Astros, DFA Jose Rojas

The SF Giants have claimed corner bat Taylor Jones off waivers from the Houston Astros and designated infielder José Rojas for assignment.

The SF Giants claimed right-handed hitting corner bat Taylor Jones off waivers from the Houston Astros on Friday. The news was first reported by KPRC Houston sports anchor Ari Alexander. Jones has appeared with the Astros in each of the past three seasons but has struggled to carve out a consistent role.

To create a spot on the 40-man roster, the Giants designated José Rojas for assignment. The Giants claimed Rojas off waivers less than two weeks ago.

The Astros drafted Jones in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB draft out of Gonzaga. Jones' minor-league career got off to a slow start, but after posting below-average numbers in his first two years in the minors, Jones broke out in 2018, posting a .281/.374/.480 triple-slash between Double-A and Triple-A.

In 2019, Jones continued putting up impressive numbers, hitting 22 home runs at Triple-A with a .291/.388/.501 line. Without a minor-league season in 2020, Jones received his first MLB call-up, posting a .608 OPS in 22 plate appearances.

Astros hitter Taylor Jones takes a swing.
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Jones demolished Triple-A in 2021. He only appeared in 48 games at the highest level of the minors, but Jones blasted 15 doubles, 10 home runs, and recorded a .331/.425/.584 triple-slash with excellent strikeout (20.3%) and walk (14.6%) rates. Houston gave Jones a more prolonged big-league opportunity and he managed a mediocre .245/.269/.402 line. Most concerningly, Jones walked just four times in 108 plate appearances and struck out 29 times.

This year, Jones has only received one plate appearance with the Astros and has seen his numbers dip at Triple-A. Jones has hit .263/.370/.456 with the Astros' affiliate in Sugar Land, Texas, and his strikeout (24.2%) and walk (10.9%) rates have both moved in the wrong direction. Granted, Jones has spent time on the injured list with a back injury. His numbers could easily be hampered by playing through that injury.

Jones is listed at 6'7''-230 lbs. and is an excellent athlete for someone his size and has plenty of experience at first base, third base, left field, and right field. With that said, he has been quite error-prone at the hot corner and is best suited for first base or the outfield.

SF Giants infielder José Rojas takes a swing during his time with the Angels.

Rojas is a versatile defender who has played all over the infield and outfield over his career. Already 29, Rojas has spent the majority of the past five seasons at Triple-A and has been one of the most productive hitters in the Pacific Coast League, maintaining a .277/.343/.525 triple-slash with a solid 20.5% strikeout rate. He struggled in two brief big-league stints for the Angels, posting a .188/.245/.339 line in 241 plate appearances. He will now go back on waivers and if he goes unclaimed, the Giants will attempt to outright him to Triple-A, where he could solidify their minor-league depth next season.

As Rojas saw, the SF Giants have consistently churned through players on waivers under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Taylor Jones is the latest bat to find his way to the Giants organization. We'll see if he sticks around longer than Rojas and is able to make an impact.