The Cincinnati Reds this evening traded infielder Connor Joe to the San Francisco Giants for right-handed pitcher Jordan Johnson and undisclosed cash considerations.
Joe was a Rule 5 draft selection from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He showed promise during his appearances for the Reds in the Cactus League (11-for-40 with four doubles and a home run), and apparently has the inside track on a roster spot with the G-men. It seems unlikely that San Francisco would trade for him otherwise, because if he is sent to the minors at any time this season, he must be offered back to the Dodgers first.
Johnson, 26 years of age, has a 21-33 career record in the Giants minor league system with a 4.37 ERA. In 2018, he pitched for Class AA Richmond, winning 6 and losing 7 games with a 3.63 ERA. He then was promoted to Class AAA Sacramento, where he went 1-6 with a 4.66 ERA. For his five-season minor league career, Johnson has struck out 364 batters in 411.2 innings, walking 153, with a 1.382 WHIP. He did not have any Cactus League appearances for the Giants this spring in “A” games.
The trade opens a spot on the Reds 40-man roster for one of the trio of Jose Iglesias, Derek Dietrich and Nick Senzel — three players with a very good chance to be on the major league team but without 40-man roster spots. Dick Williams and Nick Krall found a way to get something in exchange for Joe. Johnson is not listed among the Giants’ top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com.
Instead of just giving Joe back to Los Angeles, the Reds found a way to get a minor league piece in return. Johnson was not on the Giants’ 40-man roster, nor was he invited to their spring camp. It seems likely he will be assigned to Class AA Chattanooga and given a chance to see what he has to offer.
The Reds still have several difficult roster decisions to make, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more trades similar to this one leading up to next Thursday’s Opening Day game.