San Francisco Giants’ final roster decisions come into sharper focus after trading Chris Stratton to Angels

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Chris Stratton delivers against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

The San Francisco Giants’ final 25-man roster for Opening Day started to come a little more into focus late Monday night, when the team announced pitcher Chris Stratton had been traded to the Angels for left-handed reliever Williams Jerez.

The team also announced that pitcher Andrew Suarez was optioned to the minors. Those two moves basically set the starting rotation with Madison Bumgarner, Derek Holland, Dereck Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Jeff Samardzija, although the only two rotation spots that have been announced were Bumgarner (set to start Thursday’s opener in San Diego) and Rodriguez (scheduled to start Saturday).

Manager Bruce Bochy said he’d announce the rotation on Monday, but stopped short of doing so because the Stratton deal was announced until almost midnight.

After adding Jerez to the roster, the Giants are down to 31 players to select the final 25.

Jerez has one option left, so it’s safe to assume he’s headed to Sacramento. Ty Blach, who got lit up Monday night against the A’s, also has options, so he’s a safe bet to head to the minors. The fact that Donovan Solano has not been released indicates that he did not have an opt-out into his minor league deal, so we can guess he’s headed to Sacramento as well.

That brings the 31 down to 28.

Now to determine who the last three cuts are there are three questions that need to be answered:

  • Is there another trade (or more) still to come?
  • Are the Giants keeping two catchers or three?
  • Are the Giants keeping 12 pitchers or 13?

So if the answer to the first question is “no” and the answer to the second question to “2” and third is “13” then the last three cuts logically would be:

  • C Tom Murphy (he was a waiver claim from Rockies on Sunday)
  • IF Alen Hanson (with Yangervis Solarte told he made the team, there appears no room for Hanson)
  • IF/OF Connor Joe or IF Pablo Sandoval (Sandoval has sentiment – he’s a favorite of Bochy – and the fact he’s a switch-hitter working for him. Joe has the fact he’s six years younger and can play in the outfield working for him)

Now if the Giants decide to keep three catchers – and this point I think they will – then there’s no way they go with 13 pitchers. If that’s the case, the final three cuts would have to be:

  • IF Alen Hanson
  • IF/OF Connor Joe or OF Pablo Sandoval
  • P Travis Bergren, P Trevor Gott or P Mark Melancon. Bergren is the lone lefty in this group, and the Giants figure to keep three lefties (Will Smith and Tony Watson are the other two). So it figures Bergren is safe. So that narrows it down to Gott and Melancon. If spring stats determined this decision, the Giants would keep Gott. He has allowed just one unearned run in 11.2 innings this spring with 13 strikeouts. Melancon gave up nine runs (seven earned), three home runs in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts. But Melancon has two years and $28 million left on his contract. And before the Giants give up on that investment, they’ll need to determine that Melancon is beyond hope. And given the arms the Giants have at Triple-A, it just doesn’t figure they’ll make that move. So we’d say Gott is the final cut.)

It figures – barring another trade or waiver acquisition – that Michael Reed makes the team. I just can’t see the Giants opening the season without four true outfielders. Then they would also have Solarte and perhaps Joe to play outfield, increasing odds that Joe makes squad over Sandoval. Brandon Belt has also played outfield in past, but did not play out there this spring.

San Francisco Giants current roster

(number in parenthesis shows how many options player has lefter; R5 denotes player is a Rule 5 selection; *-denotes a non-roster player who has been told he has made the team)

Starting pitchers (5)

  • LH Madison Bumgarner
  • LH Derek Holland
  • RH Dereck Rodriguez (3)
  • LH Drew Pomeranz
  • RH Jeff Samardzija

Relief pitchers (10)

  • LH Travis Bergen (R5)
  • LH Ty Blach (2)
  • RH Sam Dyson
  • RH Trevor Gott
  • LH Williams Jerez (1)
  • RH Mark Melancon
  • RH Reyes Moronta (2)
  • LH Will Smith
  • LH Tony Watson
  • RH Nick Vincent*

Catchers (3)

  • Erik Kratz
  • Tom Murphy
  • Buster Posey

Infielders (9)

  • Brandon Belt
  • Brandon Crawford
  • Alen Hanson
  • Connor Joe (R5)
  • Evan Longoria
  • Joe Panik (3)
  • Pablo Sandoval
  • Donovan Solano
  • Yangervis Solarte*

Outfielders (4)

  • Steven Duggar (3)
  • Michael Reed
  • Mac Williamson
  • Gerardo Parra*

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