The 2013 season sits at T-12 days and counting.
So with Monday’s off day from spring training games, we thought it would be a good time to look at our projected 25-man opening day roster, if the season were to open right now.
Not much drama here. This crew each made at least 30 starts last year. But if one of these five needs a DL stint, topping the list of fill-in pitchers from Triple-A would be Chris Heston, Michael Kickham or Yusmeiro Petit, who cleared waivers last weekend and accepted a Triple-A assignment.
- RH Sergio Romo
- RH Santiago Casilla
- RH George Kontos
- RH Chad Gaudin
- LH Jeremy Affeldt
- LH Javier Lopez
- LH Dan Runzler (injury replacement for Jose Mijares)
With Petit being sent to Fresno and Scott Proctor continuing to struggle, Gaudin becomes a slam dunk to lock down the final bullpen job and serve as a long man/spot starter. Mijares has been sidelined with an elbow impingment since Feb. 28. He threw off flat ground a week ago with no problems, then left camp for nearly a week to attend to a personal matter in his native Venezuela. That leaves the lefty way behind in his spring preparations, meaning it’s very likely he’ll open the season on the DL. Runzler has impressed the Giants this spring, and is the clear favorite to fill Mijares’ spot.
Sanchez has been battling calf and shoulder ailments this spring. It’s the shoulder that has him sidelined right. The Giants are hoping that a few days of rest and treatment will do the trick. But until he tries to get back on the field later this week, they won’t know. If he can come back and play this week, there’s still time for him to be ready for the opener. But as this list is based on the notion of the season opening right now, we’ve got to put Hector on the DL. Quiroz appears to be the most experienced and dependable replacement option in camp. Jackson Williams lacks big-league experience and it doesn’t help that he’s hitting .190 this spring. Johnny Monell has impressed with the bat (9 for 18), but he hasn’t seen enough time behind the plate to be considered an option.
- 1B Brandon Belt
- 2B Marco Scutaro
- SS Brandon Crawford
- 3B Pablo Sandoval
- IF Joaquin Arias
- IF Wilson Valdez
Sandoval is battling an elbow problem. The Giants will give him a couple days for it to calm down, and they don’t expect it to be a big problem. So at this point, we’ll keep the Panda active. The batte for the last reserve infield spot hasn’t been much of a battle, meaning Valdez wins it by default. Kensuke Tanaka leads the Giants in errors while hitting .233. And injuries have limited Tony Abreu to two ABs this spring. Look for the Giants to check the waiver wire for another potential option.
I know, I know. Francisco Peguero has been tearing it up this spring. But a couple of things from Sunday’s games leads us to believe if Bruce Bochy had to make a call today, he’d go with Gillespie. For one, Gillespie belted a game-winning, three-run homer on Sunday. And then there was this quote from Bochy: “Cole’s got a knack for hitting left-handers.” When you’re the last guy on the 25-man roster, being a good situational player is a plus. Now power isn’t a big part of Gillespie’s game. But occassional pop is better than no pop when you’re serving as a bench player. Gillespie has 80 HRs in 772 minor-league ABs. Peguero has 32 HRs in 614 minor-league ABs. Gillespie came out of the gate this spring hot, but then cooled off. But he’s picked up a bit recently and has a .306 spring average. Yes, that’s not as good as Peguero’s .385, but you get a different picture when you compare on-base percentages. Peguero’s is .400 (dude don’t like to walk); Gillespie’s is .390. Peguero does make better contact (5 Ks in 39 ABs) than Gillespie (10 Ks in 36 ABs). Bochy said this one is going down to the wire. But if he had to pick right now, we’d think he’d go with Gillespie.
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.
Now that all of the Giants’ arbitration-eligible players have agreed to 2011 deals, now we can take a look at how spring training will take shape next month.
So MoreSplashHits has put together a projected 25-man opening day roster, along with a list of other players expected to be in camp in Scottsdale next month.
PROJECTED 25-MAN OPENING DAY ROSTER
STARTING PITCHERS (5): RH Tim Lincecum, RH Matt Cain, LH Jonathan Sanchez, LH Barry Zito, LH Madison Bumgarner.
RELIEVERS (7): LH Jeremy Affeldt, RH Santiago Casilla, LH Javier Lopez, RH Ramon Ramirez, RH Sergio Romo, RH Guillermo Mota, RH Brian Wilson.
CATCHERS (2): Buster Posey, Eli Whiteside
INFIELDERS (6): 1B Aubrey Huff, 2B Freddy Sanchez, SS Miguel Tejada, 3B Pablo Sandoval, 1B Travis Ishikawa, 2B-SS-3B Mike Fontenot.
OUTFIELDERS (5): Pat Burrell, Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Aaron Rowand, Mark DeRosa
REST OF 40-MAN ROSTER (14 players)
PITCHERS (6): RH Jose Casilla, RH Steve Edlefsen, LH Alex Hinshaw, RH Henry Sosa, LH Clayton Tanner, LH Dan Runzler
INFIELDERS (4): SS Ehire Adrianza, 2B-SS Emmanuel Burriss, 3B Conor Gillaspie, 2B-SS-3B Ryan Rohlinger.
OUTFIELDERS (4): Darren Ford, Thomas Neal, Francisco Peguero, Nate Schierholtz
OTHER NON-ROSTER INVITEES TO SPRING TRAINING (22 players)
PITCHERS (11): RH Jeff Suppan, RH Casey Daigle, RH Waldis Joaquin, RH Shane Loux, RH Felix Romero, RH Jason Stoffel, RH Ryan Vogelsong, LH Wilmin Rodriguez, LH Ryan Verdugo, LH Matt Yourkin.
CATCHERS (4): Tommy Joseph, Hector Sanchez, Chris Stewart, Jackson Williams
INFIELDERS (5): 1B Brandon Belt, SS Brandon Crawford, 2B Charlie Culberson, 1B Brad Eldred, 2B Nick Noonan
OUTFIELDERS (3): Gary Brown, Terry Evans, Juan Perez
We thought more roster decisions would be made today. And we were right.