NEW YORK – The Twins traded first baseman Tyler Austin to the San Francisco Giants for Malique Ziegler on Monday.
Ziegler, 22, is an outfielder at San Jose in the high Class A California League. The Des Moines native was drafted by the Giants in the 22nd round in 2016 out of North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City.
He appeared in a combined 59 games last year between Class A Augusta and the Arizona Rookie League Giants Black. Ziegler hit a combined .237 (50-for-211) with 12 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 18 RBI. In 143 minor league games, he's hit .245 with nine home runs.
"I can't thank the San Francisco Giants enough for giving the Iowa boy a chance," Ziegler tweeted Monday. "World class organization! Now it's time to face this new journey and new beginning. Excited to get things rolling with the Minnesota Twins!"
Austin was designated for assignment by the Twins on Saturday, when they promoted pitcher Chase De Jong from Class AAA Rochester. The Twins had 10 days to trade Austin, send him to the minors, release him or get him through waivers.
He was acquired from the Yankees last July as part of a trade for righthander Lance Lynn and showed impressive power in the final two months of the 2018 season, hitting .236 with nine home runs and 24 RBI in 35 games with the Twins. But Austin fell behind righthanded-hitting power acquisitions Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron during the offseason, and he had played in only two games this season, going 1-for-4 with a double.
"I really do wish that we had the opportunity and at-bats for Tyler, because I believe in him," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Saturday. "I believe in him as a person and as a player. He's a quality, quality righthanded hitter who I think can clearly hit major league pitching and if we had the opportunity for him here in those at-bats, I think we would have seen that."
LA VELLE E. NEAL III