On Tuesday evening, Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly reported from the Winter Meetings that it’s “plausible that the team will full-on embrace the opener strategy in 2019.”
Giants are focused on rotation depth in trade discussions. But even if they are moderately successful in acquiring some, Farhan Zaidi said it’s plausible that the team will full-on embrace the opener strategy in 2019.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) December 12, 2018
The strategy, which rose to prominence last season and was heavily employed by the Rays and A’s, involves having a relief pitcher start the game and throw one or two innings, before a “starter” takes over to pitch the next five or six.
“As we look at our pitching staff, I think we have to think a little because of the uncertainty we have from a health standpoint,” Zaidi said via MLB.com. “We’re going to have to explore different forms of pitching staff construction, whether that’s using openers or whether that’s having kind of tandem days where you have two pitchers each throwing three or four innings and taking down the majority of the game. I think we’re going to have to develop a plan for the pitching staff that fits the personnel that we have.”
On Tuesday evening, Giants manager Bruce Bochy joined the Hot Stove Show, and was asked for his thoughts on employing the strategy next season. He seemed open to the idea.
“I think you have to be open-minded on really all the new things that are happening in baseball, and the success maybe a team or two has had doing that,” Bochy said. “If you’re in that situation your roster is going to dictate whether you may have to use an opener, your pitching staff, how strong are you as far as your five starters.
“Whoever did this the first time you’ve got to give them credit, but if they have success and you look at what they did I think you have to be open-minded because you can get in that situation. Of course Oakland did it, other teams have followed. I will say it’s probably a little bit easier in the American League than in the National League.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Bochy talk about the opener strategy, start from 24:50.