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The certainties, wild cards and intriguing future of Giants’ bullpen



Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants’ bullpen, when the Jake McGee signing is announced, will have three surefire Opening Night members: McGee, Jarlin Garcia and Matt Wisler, all with high expectations and all with no options.

Trevor Gott also is not option-able, so the power righty is a front-runner. As is Reyes Moronta, who should be recovered from 2019 shoulder surgery. If Dedniel Núñez performs well in spring training, the Rule 5 pick would make the roster, with the Giants hoping he can stick all season and fully become a Giant.

Already, there would be six spots taken. If the Giants carry 13 pitchers and keep a five-man rotation — which is not a certainty — just two slots likely would remain for a team that has plenty of intriguing relievers.

“We’re still at a stage as a team and as an organization where we have to create opportunities for young players to break through,” Farhan Zaidi said over a Friday Zoom. The Giants have wanted to reserve “one or two spots for these NRI [non-roster invite] guys to compete. [Guys like] Tyler Cyr, who pitched really well at the alternate site for us, giving him an opportunity to come in and win a role in our bullpen.”

Cyr is a long shot to break camp with the team because he’s not on the 40-man, but the 27-year-old from Fremont will be a name to watch all season.

Among the others competing for spots will be 2020 lefty standouts Caleb Baragar, Wandy Peralta and Sam Selman. It would be a big surprise if submarining righty Tyler Rogers, among Gabe Kapler’s most trusted last season, didn’t open in San Francisco. John Brebbia, a free-agent signing coming off June Tommy John surgery, is expected to start throwing bullpen sessions next month and will stay on a throwing program for “a couple months” beyond that, positioning him for a June or July Giants debut.

There are plenty of non-roster invites who could surprise their way onto the roster, including 2020 contributor Rico Garcia, fireballing Melvin Adon and former Diamondbacks righty Silvino Bracho, who was the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League Comeback Player of the Year this winter, posting a 0.69 ERA in 13 appearances after Tommy John surgery.

There will not be spots immediately for the prospects added this offseason to the Giants’ 40-man roster, but the fact that they’re now on the roster, and weren’t selected by others in the Rule 5 draft, puts them within grasp. There is significant excitement around young right-handers Camilo Doval, Kervin Castro and Gregory Santos, with Doval, a taxi-squad member at the end of last season, the closest.

“He throws really hard,” was Kapler’s initial reaction (with a laugh) after watching a recent Doval bullpen session. “He’s also just athletic and loose and really whippy on the mound. I think his biggest key to success is just being in the zone. He’s not the type of pitcher, given his stuff, that has to live on the corners or the top or the bottom rail. He just needs to be in the zone and put hitters on the defensive.”

Castro, a 22-year-old, was a surprise roster addition, having appeared in just 28 minor league games and none above short-season ball. The big righty showed up in the Instructional League last fall with a few-ticks-up fastball, and the Giants didn’t want to lose him.

Watching a recent throwing session, Kapler was reminded of a former Red Sox teammate of his.

“He’s so incredibly mature,” Kapler said of the Venezuelan. “He features three pitches that he throws for a strike. A bit of a 12-to-6 curveball when he rips it right. A straight changeup off a straight fastball, but a little bit of a deceptive delivery, where he steps across his body with his front side.

“I kind of got, when I was watching him today in the pen — just from a delivery standpoint and maybe from a physical standpoint — it made me think about Keith Foulke. It’s not the same changeup, but there’s something that reminded me of Keith.”