The biggest decision concerned Alexander Canario, but he was not the biggest surprise at Friday’s roster deadline.
The Giants are indeed protecting the injured outfielder from the Rule 5 draft by adding the 20-year-old to the 40-man roster, as well as three other prospects — including Kervin Castro, a righty pitcher who hasn’t appeared above short-season Salem-Keizer.
To balance the roster, which is now full, the Giants on Friday designated catcher Aramis Garcia, righty Jordan Humphreys and first baseman Chris Shaw for assignment.
Canario leads the group of protected prospects that also includes righties Camilo Doval and Gregory Santos. Canario is the No. 7 prospect in the system and had been a certainty to be added until he required surgery on a torn labrum earlier this month, meaning a team that drafts him would find it difficult to keep him on a big-league roster. Still, the Giants valued him enough to ensure he didn’t slip away.
Doval’s inclusion was expected, a pool and late-season taxi-squad member who can touch triple digits and is regarded for having a strong, powerful cutter.
The Giants are short in the majors on righty relievers, which made Santos, too, easier to keep. Part of the 2017 Eduardo Nunez trade, he’s rated as the system’s No. 17 prospect and also has high-end, high-velocity stuff.
Castro was the eye-opener, a 21-year-old from Venezuela who was not part of the pool last season and only has pitched one season above Rookie Ball. In ’19, he made 14 starts and posted a 2.66 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings and an impressive 0.96 WHIP.
Among those left exposed to other clubs in the Dec. 10 Rule 5 draft are righties Tyler Cyr and Pat Ruotolo, catcher Ricardo Genoves and outfielder Sandro Fabian. Cyr, a 27-year-old from Fremont, is the most attractive among the group, having nearly debuted last season and having posted a 2.05 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 48 1/3 Double-A Richmond innings the year before.
Left exposed as now waiver pickups from other clubs are the DFA’d, including a 2015 first-round pick. Shaw, 27, was only a late-season add to the pool of players this season, a year after he had come out of spring training and been demoted all the way to Double-A. He worked his way back to the majors in 2019 but has never gotten a prolonged look, and his glimpses have never demanded longer looks; he had a .153/.244/.222 slashline in 82 plate appearances in 2018 and ’19, including 31 strikeouts. Well-liked by just about everyone, Shaw should get a second chance somewhere for a team that believes it can turn his minor league power into major league success.
Garcia is coming off February hip surgery that prevented him from playing this season and watched as Joey Bart rose to a team that Buster Posey will return to. The 27-year-old was rehabbing in Sacramento and still could be a minor league pickup, though it wouldn’t surprise if a more catcher-needy club has the better offer for the 2014 second-round pick.
Humphreys, a former top prospect whose trajectory was wrenched by 2017 Tommy John surgery, was acquired from the Mets for Billy Hamilton, but soon after was placed on the restricted list. He’s another candidate to be signed right back on a minor-league pact.