How the Giants’ Opening Day roster might deal with a strange offseason that originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
After the strangest offseason in franchise history, the Giants are almost at the point where they can completely move on.
When the schedule changes on Wednesday, the Giants will be two weeks into camp and starting a straight nine-month stretch with at least one game. Soon the focus may shift to live bullpen sessions, amazing spring training, and “in the best shape of his life” stories, but as the Giants prepare for camp, they’re in a little different position than they were in past springs. .
The front office notorious for roster churn ended up adding so many veterans over the winter — even losing superstars Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa — that the roster looks pretty close to set as first spring training approaches. There will be the usual talk of keeping things competitive, but barring injuries or a few big surprises, the Giants won’t have many decisions to make.
As the field approaches, here’s a breakdown of what the Opening Day roster might currently look like:
The choices: Joey Bart, Roberto Perez, Blake Sabol
The Giants haven’t announced the Perez deal yet, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi previously said he doesn’t expect additional wide receivers on big-league contracts, which would put the 34-year-old in the same boat as Austin Wynns as a first caller. not role-playing with gloves. One of those two will be Bart’s backup, and while Wynns has done a good job in 2022, Perez is a two-time Gold Glove winner. He would appear to enter the field with the edge.
Sabol is one of the more interesting players on the court as a left-handed hitting utility man who can catch, but he hasn’t even reached 100 games behind the plate at the minor league level. That inexperience would make it difficult for a team hoping to get off to a fast start and win back fans, but the Giants kept him on the 40 man all winter even as they started to run out of room.
Coach Gabe Kapler has spoken in the past about how valuable it would be to have a third receiver and also have a left handed receiver. Sabol potentially is both, but as a Rule 5 pick, the Giants will need to keep him on their roster to retain rights to him. If you don’t seem overwhelmed in Scottsdale, remember Drew Ferguson? -they could sneak him onto the roster instead of an extra reliever or outfielder and see if he can hang around.
What could change: While Perez has more experience, Wynns won the pitching staff last season and has the confidence of coaches. There’s also always the possibility that the Giants will add another catcher as rosters are reduced elsewhere in late March, which they’ve done a few times under Zaidi.
The choices: Brandon Crawford, Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada, JD Davis, David Villar, LaMonte Wade Jr.
Crawford is the last man standing, with Evan Longoria in Arizona and Brandon Belt in Toronto. He should have a more consistent double-crossing partner this season in Estrada who is ready to really have an everyday role.
The Giants want to give Villar a running shot with the third base job and plan to start Wade at first base, giving them a lefty replacement for Belt. Flores and Davis are a nice couple on the bench, completing a group that is heading towards spring.
What could change: Almost everyone who watches that group has the same impression. He’s heavy on right-handed corner infielders and very light on center field depth, especially in a world without shifts. The Giants had hoped to add another infielder before the field, but so far their options are Isan Diaz and Brett Lively, both on 40 men.
Diaz is the player to watch here after a big 2022 in Triple-A. Only an injury prevented an end-of-season audition and his left-handed bat could be of great help. The infield may be blocked at the moment, but there is not enough balance and on paper it does not look like a very good defensive group.
The choices: Joc Pederson, Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater, Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto
Pederson will still play in the outfield, but is slated to become the primary DH. That leaves Conforto (left), Yastrzemski (center), and Haniger (right) as Opening Day starters, with Slater — who is sneakily the second longest-serving Giant — at center fielder against left-handed pitchers.
What could change: Luis Gonzalez had some good moments as a rookie, but comes on to remember a tough rule for young players. If you have minor league options left, it’s much harder to win field competitions.
Gonzalez has one left and the Giants are pretty rich in potential outfielders. In addition to the five listed here, Wade can still slide into the outfield and Estrada can do it in a pinch. If Sabol has a good spring, there’s another lefty hitter who can play left field.
Heliot Ramos has hit some rumbling homers in the Cactus League in the past, but the Giants want to see consistency in Triple-A before giving him another shot in the big leagues.
The choices: Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling, Anthony DeSclafani/Alex Wood
The Giants haven’t said much about who the odd man will be, and while they might go with a six-man rotation on occasion, it won’t often be. Reports of DeSclafani’s rehabilitation have been positive, though the staff may choose to slow him down if the rest of the starters are healthy in late March.
What could change: Spin falls into the old “these things tend to fix themselves” bucket. But if all six starters are healthy, the staff will have to deliver some tough news to a veteran.
A decision that won’t be difficult: Webb is a block to be named starter for a marquee opener against Judge, Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees.
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The choices: Camilo Doval, one brother Rogers, another brother Rogers, John Brebbia, Scott Alexander, Jakob Junis, Wood/DeSclafani
Eventually Luke Jackson will join this mix, but there’s a good chance he kicks off the season with the 60 Days IL as he continues to rehab after Tommy John surgery. There will be many non-tenured responders at the camp, but all of the responders listed here should be feeling very comfortable by now.
What could change: The biggest decision the Giants may have to make with their initial roster is how to handle the first trip. Their preference is to have eight rescuers, but mostly teams protect inventory at the end of the field, and the schedule may allow for early maneuvers.
The Giants open on a Thursday at Yankee Stadium and then have the next day off. After the fourth game of the season, they have one more day off. MLB is bracing for bad weather on the East Coast, but for the front office, that means the pitching staff may only have to cover 36 innings over the first six days of the season.
If all six starters are healthy and Junis is in the bullpen as a true long reliever, the Giants could easily go short on reliever and add a bat to the bench for those first two series. If they like what they see from Sabol on the pitch, this would be an easy way to keep him early.
If they go with a full pen, rookie Cole Waites could be the next man, with Sean Hjelle, Sam Long and Thomas Szapucki taking the field as familiar options. Zaidi also mentioned potential RJ Dabovich as a player who could get a first shot if he has a good field.
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