With opening day now just three weeks away, the Giants roster is beginning to take shape. San Jose Mercury News beat writer Kerry Crowley joined Larry Krueger on Wednesday and predicted what he thinks the opening day outfield could look like, as well as the starting rotation.
Though the Giants could still add a player or two, it’s not out of the question that they begin the season with just three outfielders on the 25-man roster.
“I think if the season started tomorrow, Mac Williamson would definitely be on the roster, and he would probably be the opening day left fielder, just because the limited options that they have,” Crowley began. “You’re looking right now at three guys I feel most comfortable saying would be on the opening day roster are Williamson, Steven Duggar, and Gerardo Parra. I don’t think there’s anyway that Parra, who’s in camp on a minor-league deal, misses out on a roster spot here.
“Beyond that, they have Drew Ferguson (Rule-5 pick) and Cameron Maybin kind of competing for this fourth outfield role, that may not even exist if they keep eight relievers, five starters, and all three of Yangervis Solarte, Alen Hanson, and Pablo Sandoval. You’re looking at a team that may not need that additional outfield depth, because they could always pull from the Triple-A level with Austin Slater and Chris Shaw who have minor-league options. Yes it would make a lot of sense to trade from the surplus of relievers they have in Tony Watson, Will Smith, and Sam Dyson and bring in an outfielder, but maybe they wait till the trade deadline to get something like that done.”
As far as the rotation is concerned, the top four spots are likely to go Madison Bumgarner, Derek Holland, Jeff Samardzija, and Drew Pomeranz. Beyond that, it’s a bit of a toss up for the No. 5 spot.
“I still can’t fathom the idea of the Giants breaking camp and Dereck Rodriguez not being in the rotation, but right now as the numbers stand, he might be the odd guy out just because they want to give Chris Stratton an opportunity,” Crowley said. “He looked great in his last start, he’s a former first round draft pick, and typically those guys have longer leashes when it comes to the designated for assignment option and being out of options.
“You’re looking at a Giants rotation that has seven to eight legitimate candidates to be in the rotation opening day. It’s really similar to what Zaidi accomplished with the Dodgers when he was the general manager there, and they were able to withstand the loss of Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill because they have the depth in Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda. Last year the Dodgers had eight guys make at least 15 starts for them and we could see that with the Giants this year. Maybe Jeff Samardzija doesn’t pitch every fifth day. Maybe Drew Pomeranz starts the season in the bullpen.
“There’s a number of different things they have to get sorted out over the last three weeks of spring, but I think they’re feeling a whole lot more confident in their ability to have depth in the rotation than they did last year, just because the number of guys that can contribute.”
Listen to the full interview below.