Monday, April 06, 2015

Your 2015 Giants: Opening Day Roster

The 25-man roster has been settled.  Extra Baggs.  Chron.

Pitching Staff (probable rotation):  Bumgarner, Peavy, Cain, Hudson, Lincecum;  but Vogelsong probably takes over Peavy's first start and then it sounds like the Giants plan to insert (or skip) pitchers as needed this season in order to maximize who they got facing any particular opponent of interest (like the Bridegrooms), using Vogie and Petit as needed.  There will not be a 6-man rotation.  Bullpen:  Casilla as closer, Romo (who will sub as closer as needed Bochy noted), Affeldt, Lopez, Machi, and Kontos (both relievers kept).

Starting (probable) lineup:  Aoki, Panik, Pagan, Posey, Belt, McGehee, Blanco, Crawford.  Bench:  Hanchez, Arias, Duffy, Maxwell.

To make this roster work, the Giants did the following moves.  DLed Pence, Ishikawa, and Cordier.  DFAed Ehire Adrianza.  

ogc thoughts

I knew that it would be a tough choice, but I didn't expect that Adrianza would be the one left without a chair when the music stopped.  I was totally wrong.  I still think the Giants think a lot of Adrianza, but Duffy must have shown something this spring that convinced the decision makers that he's the real deal now, whereas Adrianza is still mostly potential.

Matt Duffy was the big breakout this spring.  Duffy did what any good prospect is suppose to do:  make the decision really hard for the team.   So hard that he made the team.  He worked out over the off-season adding 15 pounds of muscle in order to boost his power, and it showed, as he tied for the team lead in homers.  I would not expect him to continue at that pace, but for a team lacking in power, that probably tipped the scales for him.  Given all the positions they have been playing him, as well, it looks like they want to set him up for a Zobrist-type role.  But for now, he's in the infield, the Giants played Belt out in LF, one to prep him to play there should the need comes now that we are short an OF, and two, so that there is a place to play him when Posey needs his rest at 1B, then Aoki could move to RF to rest Pence (maybe even CF to give Pagan a rest, I think he said he could play CF), or get rest himself, probably will depend on the pitcher.  Congrats to Duffman!

I still think Adrianza could still do something in the majors.  He was showing his good bat this spring, not striking out much while walking a lot, and thus in spite of the poor batting average, he had a great OBP.   And a recent study on Fangraphs found that I think the Giants made a mistake getting rid of him and keeping Arias, but I don't know if Ehire will ever break out.  The Giants seem to think not.

But Arias hasn't show much value the past two seasons.  His best defensive position is 3B, as he his horrible everywhere else.  Is it better to have him backing up 3B or having Adrianza backing up 2B, 3B, and SS?   Though I suppose the Giants view is that Duffy covers those positions now, but I saw Adrianza as a good pairing with Duffy, as Duffy offers mostly offense with OK defense, and Adrianza offers great defense with some offense.  Arias has provided neither the past two seasons.  And Adrianza can add value with speed on the bases while also getting walks, and the occasional power, which is better than Arias can do, as he don't walk nor hit for much power.  I'm not sure why they are holding onto him so strongly, while they let other players like Ishikawa and Lewis go pretty easily.  I'm sure they could have eaten Arias' contract easily.

But what's done is done.  We'll see how long Adrianza lasts on the waiver wire.  Brown made it through most of the NL before the Cards picked him up.   Of course, Brown didn't cost a 25-man roster spot, which makes it a different equation, but I can't imagine that one of the teams in the bottom of the league couldn't jettison somebody to pick up Adrianza.  My best hope is that he makes it through waivers because of his lack of options (much like Ishikawa did in 2011) and we are able to retain him.  But we've already lost Kickham and Brown this off-season already, so teams are watching and waiting, and the beats have been uniformly saying that Adrianza won't make it through waivers.

So the final choice was to keep both relievers, Machi and Kontos.  Honestly, that is worth more to me than Adrianza, if I had to choice between the two, I would have chosen relievers too.  And it wasn't the no days off in the early season scenario that the Giants gave as the reason, they are two quality relievers with no options.   Of course, my choice would have been to DFA Arias, but that boat has sailed.  :^)

Another bit of news that came out was that Aoki will be leading off.  Bochy was slowing moving in that direction.  I think he had to do it that way because of Pagan and his desire to leadoff.  But Aoki is the most logical choice.  Higher OBP.  Lower SLG.  Similar speed/SB.   But more importantly, higher OBP, Pagan is about average, Aoki is above average.  Plus, then Pagan's higher SLG can be put to better use in the 3-spot.  And gives the Giants two good runners getting on base before our best hitters, Posey, Belt, and Pence (once he gets back).

In addition, Peavy is still fighting his dead arm stage, apparently, so the Giants are thinking of giving Vogelsong Peavy's #2 spot for now, to give Peavy more time to recover, then once he's ready, perhaps rejigger the rotation some, depending on the circumstances at that time.   Though I can see a scenario where they use this to DL him when Ishikawa is ready to come off the DL, to give him more time and rest on his arm.  2014, after all, was his first full season in a while, plus he pitched in the playoffs.  And he wasn't all that good in October.  So they might want to rest him now, so that he'll be stronger later in the 2015 season.

Hard Decisions Still Awaiting New GM Evans

Still, the can is only kicked slightly ahead.  When Ishikawa is ready to come off the DL in a couple of weeks, will he still have a spot?  Or will Maxwell, who also don't have options, hit so well that he keeps the spot?

Plus, they can't keep both relievers forever, the Giants are not prepared to go a season with 13 pitchers on the roster.  When Pence comes off the DL, another spot would need to be opened, and a decision will need to be made regarding the two of Machi and Kontos.

And, while Evans is in charge of day-to-day operations, Sabean apparently does have veto power over decisions.   Sabean has always described decision making as a collaborative process, anyway, involving him talking with a number of people internally, so that's not a huge thing, veto power.   Evans would replicate that process, involving Sabean, since he now will be scouting more often which enables him to have a much stronger opinion regarding players, so he should know whether a veto is coming or not.   And Sabean said as much in the press conference when asked if Evans had full power or not, clearly stating that Evans did not, that there would be a transition period of some kind.


  1. I suspect they want to keep Duffy to maintain and develop his game at this level and will cater him to take over for Arias next year. If all goes well, they may even think he could become a longer-term solution for third base.

    1. Thanks for the comment steveb!

      Yeah, seems to be the same thing they did with Belt in 2011, that he don't have much more he can learn in minors, that he would be better off working with the major league coaches.

      I think I've noted at various sites that they might be developing him as a Zobrist type of player. I've also noted before that I preferred him playing in AAA working on his fielding at 3B, in hopes he could be the starting 3B in 2016. So I agree with you there that he could become a longer-term solution for third base. That's part of the reason I wanted to keep Adrianza around, so that he could take over for Arias next year, while I had higher aspirations for Duffy short-term. And I still think that longer term that Adrianza could become a starter in the mode of how Scutaro worked his way up to the minors and then figured things out.

      Thanks again and, I forgot to add, Go Giants!

    2. Maybe the DFA Arias boat is still near shore. When Ishikawa comes back, one argument for Arias will disappear, that he can back up first base. Maybe Bochy today has Posey playing first and Sanchez catching because the green Heston has pitched to Sanchez numbers of times before, in the minors, but it's also possible that the Giants don't really want Arias at first. When Ishikawa returns, that matter may be mooted. The other reason for keeping Arias is that he's a known quantity whereas Duffy isn't. But by the time Ishikawa might return, so that the Giants need to drop someone from the active roster, Duffy will have been tested more thoroughly. If he passes those tests, as he ought to, Arias may be redundant as an infield backup as well as a first-base backup. In that case, he may well be DFAd. The Giants need Duffy as the better player, and they need Ishikawa as a left-handed pinch hitter--they also humiliated him in 2010 by having him attend the ring ceremony out of uniform, and since he was a great hero in the 2014, they won't want to do that again. Hence, once he comes off the DL, he should stay; Duffy should; and Arias can go. If the Giants reasoned that way, one can see why they might DFA Adrianza at the start of the season, with the expectation that they could DFA Arias later (or, if he didn't work out, send Duffy to Sacramento).

    3. And today, when Arias is starting at first, we learn that not only won't he do so tomorrow, when Sanchez catches Lincecum and Posey plays first, but also that Bochy has told Duffy to get a first baseman's glove and to go over first-base plays with the coaches. Arias gets a chance today to show he's the guy to keep and Duffy gets a chance in the near future to neutralize Arias's main argument as back-up infielder.

  2. Seems clear that whatever the Giants' desire, they need lots of starting pitching. Both Cain and Peavy will miss starts now.
    The good news is: besides the many Dodgers games, the Giants' schedule is fairly neutral to weak until June. Hopefully by then, all cylinders will be firing.

  3. Good news: Ehire Adrianza cleared waivers and the Giants placed him in AAA Sacramento. Yeah!!!

    I still think that he can be a nice bench player, at minimum, and perhaps even figure things out as he gets closer to 30, mature some more physically, a la Scutaro, who started out his MLB starting career late. Some SS need that time, Ozzie Smith took a while, I think Omar Vizquel as well.

    Now that he can be in AAA, he'll get a full season batting and playing SS, then after the season, Arias' contract will be over and probably out, and Adrianza and Duffy should be the MI bench players, unless the Giants let them battle for the starting 3B job for the 2016 season (probably Duvall as well).



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