Monday, March 19, 2018

Your 2018 Giants: Latest Spring Cuts

Here are the latest Giants spring cuts, per MLB.com:
  • Optioned out:  right-handers Tyler Beede, Roberto Gomez, and Derek Law; outfielders Austin Slater and Mac Williamson
  • Reassigned to the minors: left-hander Andrew Suarez, right-handers Joan Gregorio and Jose Valdez, catchers Justin O'Conner, Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez, infielders Orlando Calixte, Chase d'Arnaud and Kyle Jensen and outfielder Chris Shaw
ogc thoughts

None of them were surprising.  Many are upset that Williamson was sent down, but the facts are that he has one nice spring breakout, after years of mediocre performances in both the majors and minors, whereas, when healthy (which Pence was the last couple of months of 2017 when he hit.289/.361/.457/.817 with 6 homers in 173 AB, or roughly a 20-25 HR seasonal pace), Pence is a good outfielder.  Mac needs to go down to AAA and prove that his changes are real and sustainable, and force the Giants to bring him up.

The only other surprise was Chase d'Arnaud, mainly because he got a lot of press this spring.  But as I noted in my other post, it would require a lot of 40-man removals to open up spots for all these NRI guys, and while I think that there are two spots that are doable in Gomez and Herb, the team might not want to lose them quite yet.  He'a apparently the Giants SS insurance in AAA, assuming he accepts his assignment.

Remaining Battles

There are a number of battles that are clearing up some, as the 25-man should be much clearer by Friday, from what I've read.

Starting Rotation

It is down to Stratton, Blach, and Holland, and Holland continues to press for a spot, as both Stratton and Blach had a bad last start.  The Giants fiddled with the rotation, starting Holland in place of Samardzija, making the rotation potentially Bumgarner, Cueto, Holland, Samardzija (or LRLR), meaning that one of Stratton or Blach could be filling the 5th starter role, and the other the long relief role, if Holland is the 4th starter.  And as I noted, since the 5th starter is not needed early on, he would be optioned to AAA to keep his arm ready to start, and rejoin the Giants about 3 weeks into the season.  Given that the Giants think Blach handles the relief role well, it looks like Stratton will be the 5th starter but in AAA, while Blach stays but is the long reliever.

Bullpen

Obviously, it's been Melancon (even with his discomfort), Dyson (even if he's still working on throwing with his lower body), Watson, Strickland (with great new slider that he got advice on throwing from John Smoltz during the off-season; why didn't he talk sooner?), and Gearrin (new players rep) taking up 5 of the 7 bullpen spots, with one for a reliever and another for a long reliever.

Josh Osich has been a revelation this spring.  He studied how he pitched when he was doing well, and has dropped a pitch, and adjusted his mechanics, and he appears to have returned to his prior goodness.  I've been a fan for a long time, since he was drafted and I still believe in his abilities, but he has not performed that well for a long while until this spring.  Why it took that long for this to happen, I'm not sure, but perhaps that is part of the reasons why Righetti was relieved of his duties as pitching coach, to bring in new blood and new ideas and experiences. 

Of course, that means that there is no spot open for Julian Fernandez.   I think Giants fans have loved what they've seen of him so far in spring, but he's clearly not ready yet, though given his good outings, he's probably not far away.  I don't see the Rockies agreeing to a trade to allow the Giants to keep him, so it will be interesting to see how the Giants handle this situation.  Or it could just be a simple, return him to Rockies and move on, but I hope not. 

Outfield

The outfield was clearly Pence, Jackson, McCutchen, and the Giants have stated that they are only carrying 5 OF.  Gregor Blanco has done new exercises to return to his prior speediness, like when he first joined the Giants, and look like he's grabbing one OF spot, at the expense of Gorky's 40-man spot.  The other spot appears to be down to Duggar and Parker. 

I like both Duggar and Parker, and wish that both could be kept.  So the easy thing would be to keep Parker as the 5th OF, and let Duggar get some more experience in AAA, which many seem to think he needs.  Otherwise, starting Duggar would mean that Parker is DFAed.

So far, Duggar has continued to hit and play good defense, doing nothing to suggest that he's overwhelmed or has some bad weakness, and the Giants management continue to say that they are open to him starting.  It appears to be a race to the last day of the pre-season.

Infield

There was really only one possible open spot on the IF bench, as Sandoval would have had to been out of weight and terrible to lose his spot.  He came in good enough shape and has been hitting like the Panda reborn, and playing good defense at 1B and 3B, while holding emergency catcher duties as well. 

Kelby Tomlinson was the incumbent for the other position, but a lot of guys with major league experience were brought in to battle, with d'Arnaud the main contender.  But Chase is gone now, and only Rutledge and Andres Blanco are left, and neither combined played as many games at SS as d'Arnaud, and less than Kelby has in total.  It appears he has won the position, pending any last minute frozen streak on his part, and suddenly great hitting by one of the remaining contenders. 

5 comments:

  1. Melancon was sharp yesterday. I think Blanco definitely makes the roster. I think Sandoval makes the club and I hope, for his sake, he's finally decided to act like a professional with respect to his conditioning.

    Fangraphs has an interesting 'playing time' projection here: https://www.fangraphs.com/teams/giants

    They, basically, have Holland the #6 pitcher as a starter. I'm not sure about how they came up with it unless they're expecting him to come out of the bullpen as a spot starter. Yet they don't have him in the bullpen...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment MosesZD!

      Good to hear about Melancon, if he's back to his old ways, we are in really good shape.

      I agree that Gregor Blanco looks like he's making the roster, he basically took Gorkys spot, which was Blanco's spot before.

      It appears that Sandoval is acting very professional this off-season/spring, and has been hitting well to boot.

      Yeah, that Fangraphs projection is based on their experts estimation of playing time, and they appear to not to be able to handle splitting relief and starting, because between Holland, Stratton, and Blach, one of them will be the long reliever and will be pitching as part of relief.

      I think their expectations at that time was that either Stratton or Blach will struggle at some point, and Holland will come in and take some starts from them, or perhaps others, as a spot starter or temporary replacement during injury/poor performance.

      Given the Giants shifting Holland's pitch day to be between Cueto and Samardzija, it appears that they are readying him to be #3 in the rotation, if he continues to pitch well and the younger guys continue to struggle some, I believe.

      Delete
  2. Forgot to mention a few items.

    First off, it is better sign that Williamson is sent down, that means the Giants think that he can be a starter and want him preparing that way. Keeping him as a bench player means that they have given up on him as a starter. (Can't apply this to Parker, as he's out of options)

    Second, I also forgot to mention what I had noted in the last post on cuts, that the Giants, by pushing the #5 starter to the minors to get regular turns of the rotation and keep his arm ready to start, could open up a spot for Julian Fernandez to stay with the team on the 25-man roster.

    If the Giants want to keep him, I think they need to add him to the 25-man/40-man rosters, which would force the Rockies to do as well, and if they waiver him sometime late in April, then that might force the Rockies to do a trade with the Giants, if they have no 40-man space for Fernandez, and want something for him, as mostly likely, most other teams are full up on their 40-man as well by that time.

    If they just return him at the end of spring, I believe the Rockies will just wait to get him back, as it would not change anything, he would just go back into their farm system. They would have no reason to consider trading him to the Giants.

    Of course, keeping Holland and Fernandez will require two 40-man spots, and as I had noted before, Gomez and Herb appear to be the guys (to me) on the 40-man who look most vulnerable. However, reading over a couple of Giants prospect list, both are considered good enough prospects to be in the Top 30 or so, so they have some value. But as much value as Fernandez? Probably not, the lists also had Fernandez higher than either potential DFA's.

    Part of me expect a trade to clear space. Parker is the most obvious choice, but I would be sad as I think he's going to be one of those guys who find a place while 30-ish in age, and suddenly pound out 20-30 homers once he's given a starter's position, plus he has the speed to be in double digits as well.

    But the Giants currently has Duggar slotted for CF, and probably Williamson in RF and Shaw in LF, so at best, Parker is looking at being the 4th OF even in 2019 ( though he could still beat out Williamson or Shaw for a corner starting position). Plus there's Slater as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, it would not be surprising if the Giants decide to resign McCutchen, though the money and size of contract, I would presume would scare them away. Plus they are supposedly going after Harper as well.

      The Giants way of doing things, however, would be to sign McCutchen, so that they have someone, then hope to sign Harper, which if they do, then there is no space for Williamson or Shaw, and they become bench players most probably, which would be unfortunate, as especially Mac looks ready to bust out in the majors.

      Delete
  3. Also, Ryder Jones was optioned out just before. He was supposed to be part of the first cut, but because he was injured and thus not optionable, they had to wait until he was healthy.

    ReplyDelete

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