The deadline to submit opening 25-man rosters is 2 p.m. PDT Wednesday.
As the Giants have at 12:30 p.m. game against the A’s at AT&T Park, manager Bruce Bochy said he’ll announce his final decisions Wednesday morning.
But this is how the roster would look if MoreSplashHits were making the final call:
STARTING PITCHERS: RH Tim Lincecum, LH Madison Bumgarner, RH Matt Cain, LH Barry Zito (see below)
BULLPEN: RH Brian Wilson, RH Sergio Romo, RH Santiago Casilla, RH Clay Hensley, RH Guillermo Mota, LH Jeremy Affeldt, LH Javier Lopez
CATCHERS: Buster Posey, Eli Whiteside, Hector Sanchez
INFIELDERS: Brandon Belt, Emmanuel Burriss, Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, Ryan Theriot, Joaquin Arias
OUTFIELDERS: Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Nate Schierholtz, Aubrey Huff, Gregor Blanco
This is not a prediction. Bochy has stated, and re-stated, that he intends to open the season with 12 pitchers, even though the team will go with a four-man rotation until Ryan Vogelsong comes off the DL on April 15.
That means one fewer spot for position players. And we think that means Sanchez will go to Fresno.
We like Whiteside over Chris Stewart. Stewart is the better defender, which is what you look for in a backup catcher. But with the limitations that will be placed on Buster Posey, the Giants need a backup catcher who can hit. Whiteside has shown better ability to do that than Stewart.
Now, onto Zito. We have zero confidence that two bullpen sessions and a minor-league start in Arizona is going to change Zito from a batting practice pitcher that we saw in his last two starts into Arizona into a serviceable starter for the Giants.
So, if we were running things, we’d find some kind of reason to put Zito on the DL to open the season. Then we’d start Yusmeiro Petit in Colorado on April 9.
It’s not a great option with Vogelsong and Eric Surkamp on the DL, but it’s the best one available.