Before the 3 p.m. deadline to protect players from the December Rule 5 Draft, the Giants added top prospect Marco Luciano and five other prospects to the 40-man roster.
Luciano, promising outfielder Luis Matos, newly acquired utilityman Brett Wisely, and right-handed pitchers Tristan Beck, Jose Cruz and Keaton Winn were each added to San Francisco’s roster. To make room for them, SF designated Jarlín García, Jason Vosler, Colten Welker, Sam Delaplane, Dom Núñez, and Meibrys Viloria for assignment.
To protect a player from qualifying for the Rule 5 Draft, teams needed to add them to their 40-man roster — also known as “reserve lists.” Notable omissions include former first round pick Hunter Bishop, outfielder Jairo Pomares, shortstop Will Wilson and reliever Nick Avila. Any of those players are now eligible to be selected in the Dec. 7 Rule 5 Draft.
Both García and Vosler had contributed at the big-league level this year, but are casualties of a necessary effort to reshuffle the roster. After an 81-81 season, bringing everyone back wouldn’t be sensible.
Zaidi said that García was a “really tough one.” In an up-and-down season, García posted a 3.74 ERA in 2022. Left-handers Scott Alexander, Alex Young and Thomas Szapucki — each of whom showed promise late in the season — are in line for a larger role without García, Zaidi said.
“Some of that for us, honestly, is just changing the mix in the bullpen,” Zaidi said.
He also hinted that Vosler got pushed out by left-handed hitting infielders like Wisely and Isan Díaz, who project to potentially play a little shortstop.
Among the players the Giants added to the 40-man list, Matos might be the most intriguing. The outfielder was named the Arizona Fall League Defensive Player of the Year. But SF’s No. 3 prospect struggled mightily from the plate this year and dealt with injuries.
Zaidi said the goal is to have capable MLB contributors throughout the 40-man roster, but Matos, Luciano and Cruz don’t project to contribute to the Giants this season. Still, their upside was worth protecting.
There have been some recent Rule 5 success stories, but picks rarely pan out. Teams must carry their selection on their 26-man roster for the full 2023 season, and unprotected players are rarely ready to contribute at the big-league level.