Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, Here I am at Camp Grenada

 

by DrLefty

When DrLefty was a little Girl Scout, she went to summer camp every year. First there was day camp between second and third grade and then sleep-away camp for a number of years after that. We used to sing this “Camp Grenada” song around our campfires.

 

(DrLefty’s Girl Scout career nearly came to a sudden and ignominious end when she was caught listening to the 1972 World Series on the contraband transistor radio she’d smuggled in to a weekend campout, but that’s a story for another day.)

Anyway, our Giants and the other MLB teams started summer camp, or training camp, or Spring Training 2.0 (which would seem the silliest of the choices given that it’s July) this week. Andrew Baggarly vehemently dislikes the “summer camp” label because summer camp is supposed to be, well, fun, and there are a lot of scary unknowns about this version of “summer camp.”

This led to me riffing on the “Camp Grenada” theme.

I went hiking with Joe Spivey
He developed poison ivy
You remember Leonard Skinner
He got Ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner
[…]
Now I don’t want this should scare ya
But my bunkmate has Malaria
You remember Jeffrey Hardy
They’re about to organize a searching party

 

Ready or not, “Camp Grenada” has convened, and for the first time since camps shut down on March 12, there’s actually a lot to talk about. I’ve been scrambling to keep up, and I thought for this week’s post, I’d give you a round-up of all the news that seems most relevant.

 

Initial COVID testing

MLB announced yesterday that 1.2% of the players and staff tested for COVID-19 had tested positive–31 players and 7 other staff from 19 different teams. Besides the one we already knew about (Hunter Bishop), a pitcher named Luis Madero tested positive from the Giants. You might be asking, as I did, “Who the heck is Luis Madero?” I discovered on MLB.com that he’s a 23-year-old Venezuelan who was claimed off waivers from the Angels in January.

Get well soon to great player and good guy Freddie Freeman of the Braves, and may #ForeverGiant Will Smith remain asymptomatic.

 

Draft signings

The Giants have announced the signings of five of their seven picks from the June draft. Only the fourth-rounder, RJ Dabowitz, and the third-rounder, Kyle Harrison, have not had their deals made official, though Harrison’s bonus was rumored to be $2.5 million. Although the Giants signed Patrick Bailey, Casey Schmitt, Jimmy Glowenke, and Ryan Murphy for substantially below their slot values, they paid North Carolina State lefty Nick Swiney (their compensation pick for losing Madison Bumgarner) over slot. It’s hard to quite see how the math works out to pay Harrison $2.5 million, so (a) that rumor was wrong (b) Harrison’s not going to sign and will go to UCLA instead or (c) the Giants will exceed their bonus pool, forfeiting a draft pick for next year. Stay tuned.

Here’s a good summary of the draft picks and the money.

After signing Bailey, the Giants immediately added him to their 60-man list. They also added Will Wilson, the Angels’ first-round pick from 2019, whom the Giants traded for during the Winter Meetings (which also leads directly to the amazing trivia question: “Who will be the highest-paid Giant for the 2020 season?”). So assuming Bishop will be added once he’s medically cleared, the Giants will have their last four first-round picks (Bailey, Bart, Bishop, and Ramos), their highest international/J2 signing (Luciano), and Wilson, also a first-round pick, at their camp.

 

Transactions and omissions

The Giants made the odd-looking move of releasing and then re-signing four non-roster invitees–Trevor Cahill, Billy Hamilton, Yolmer Sanchez, and Pablo Sandoval–before publishing their 60-man camp list. Apparently this was procedural so that their contract terms (all were signed to minor league deals with spring training invites) could be renegotiated given the new realities of the shortened season. It is expected that all four will make the Opening Day roster, which will necessitate some 40-man roster moves (see my last post for a detailed round-up of the possibilities). The Giants DFA’d pitcher Enderson Franco, a postseason hero for the AAA champion Sacramento River Cats last year.

Also interesting were the omissions of 40-man roster players from the 60-man list: outfielder/1B Chris Shaw, fireballing reliever Melvin Adon, infielder Kean Wong, and outfielder Jose Siri. Shaw and Adon are Giants prospects who’ve been in the system for years, while Wong and Siri were picked up as minor league free agents or waiver claims this offseason. Any or all of them could still be added to the 60-man pool, of course (the list currently stands at 56), but it’s probably not a good sign for them if they’re not even being invited to Camp Grenada at this point. As already noted, the Giants will need to make 40-man moves if they want to add Cahill, Hamilton, Sanchez, and Sandoval, not to mention Darin Ruf and at least one backup catcher. These four excluded 40-man players are ones I’d identified in my last post (along with others) as possibly on the bubble to be removed from the 40-man roster.

 

Current 60-man pool

Including Madero but not (yet) including Bishop, the Giants now have 56 players on their 60-man list. Players on the 40-man roster are listed in bold.

Catchers (6): Buster Posey, Patrick Bailey, Joey Bart, Rob Brantly, Tyler Heineman, Chadwick Tromp

Infielders (14): Abiatal Avelino, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Mauricio Dubon, Wilmer Flores, Zach Green, Evan Longoria, Marco Luciano, Darin Ruf, Yolmer Sanchez, Pablo Sandoval, Donovan Solano, Luis Toribio, Will Wilson

Outfielders (10): Jaylin Davis, Alex Dickerson, Steven Duggar, Billy Hamilton, Joe McCarthy, Hunter Pence, Heliot Ramos, Joey Rickard, Austin Slater, Mike Yastrzemski

Pitchers (26): Shaun Anderson, Tyler Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Sam Coonrod, Johnny Cueto, Tyler Cyr, Camilo Doval, Jarlin Garcia, Rico Garcia, Kevin Gausman, Trevor Gott, Dany Jimenez, Luis Madero*, Conner Menez, Carlos Navas, Trevor Oaks, Wandy Peralta, Dereck Rodriguez, Tyler Rogers, Jeff Samardzija, Sam Selman, Drew Smyly, Andrew Suarez, Andrew Triggs, Tony Watson, Logan Webb

 

Thoughts about the 60-man pool

In one of the “Baggs and Brisbee” podcasts last week, Andrew Baggarly mentioned a wrinkle on the complicated roster rules that I hadn’t known before. The only trades that can be made this season (before the August 31 deadline) have to be on or off the 60-man list. So, for example, a trade of Jeff Samardzija or Kevin Gausman for prospects (like the ones Farhan Zaidi pulled off at last year’s deadline) would only be possible if (a) those minor leaguers are in the other team’s 60-man pool and (b) if the Giants have room on their 60-man list to receive them.

In their second podcast of the week, they talked about the 56-man list (57 if you save a spot for Bishop) and what the Giants might do with the rest of those spots. Baggs made the (I thought) astute observation that we’ll know a lot more about the Giants’ intentions for the 2020 season from the approach they take. If, for example, they add more prospects who won’t possibly play during the major league season (such as Seth Corry, Alex Canario, Luis Toribio, Luis Matos, or Sean Hjelle), that suggests they’re basically punting 2020 to prioritize development of their top prospects for the future. Players cannot be removed from the 60-man list without risking losing them entirely from the organization, so obviously the Giants are not going to add more of their most elite prospects unless they’re committed to keeping them in the pool for the whole 2020 season.

While I was working on this post, it was announced that Toribio and pitcher Camilo Doval were added to the 60-man list. So…maybe we’re beginning to see a bit of what Baggs was speculating about.  Here’s a nice thread, with video, on some of the newest additions.

 

Initial reports from Camp Grenada

On this week’s Chalk Talk at Home, the broadcasters spoke with Tony Watson and Alex Dickerson, both of whom had arrived in San Francisco and were quarantined in hotel rooms waiting for the results of their COVID tests. Watson in particular was candid about being nervous when he flew commercially from Florida to San Francisco and said that he’ll “feel better when I get my negative test result.” Both players seemed a bit unclear about what their schedule would look like when workouts began Friday, though they reportedly had a team meeting on Zoom on Thursday evening to go over things–and received a “be responsible/don’t be selfish” pep talk from Buster Posey. Then, oddly, Buster was a prominent no-show at the first workout on Friday. Gabe Kapler made a point of saying that his COVID test was negative, but he was absent for “personal reasons.” He is in camp today, though.

Baggarly explained that beat writers are allowed in the facility for a two-hour period each day. They have to go in through a specific entrance, have their temperature checked, and sign a waiver. Then they’re required to take a specific route to the press box, and they may be allowed to sit in the stands in front of the press box to watch the practices, all masked, of course. They will not be allowed any in-person interviews, will have a daily Zoom presser with Gabe Kapler, and will have to set up appointments to talk to individual players on the phone.

It occurred to me, not for the first time, what an advantage the Giants have with training in San Francisco in July. They can bring their players in for practices in three groups and don’t have to worry about avoiding “the heat of the day.” Baggarly and Pavlovic et al. can sit in the stands to watch and be perfectly comfortable (assuming they bring a jacket if it’s cold!). Compare that to hot, dry Arizona and hot, humid Florida, Texas, Atlanta, etc. (As for the taxi squad that gets to spend the rest of the summer in Sacramento…well, sucks to be you.)

Jeff Samardzija took a shot at MLB owners when asked how he thought it would be to play this season without fans in the park.

“I wouldn’t put the carriage before the horse,” he said. “I think there’s going to be fans in the stands. I think we’ve seen with these owners, they’re not scared of anything, and they’re not scared to put anyone at risk if they get the opportunity to, especially if it makes them money.

 

Don’t hold back, Jeff. Tell us how you really feel. There were a number of comments on Twitter along the lines of “a guy who’s made tens of millions of dollars to be mediocre shouldn’t be shooting off his mouth about making money,” but my main issue with his quote is “Put the carriage before the horse.” Carriage? Hey Shark, the 1890s called, and they want their “carriage” back.

On the other hand, just as the Camp Grenada song finally had a happy ending, the Giants’ Twitter account would like you to know that the guys are “ready to go.”

 

MyGuy™ 2.0

You’ll remember that back in March, HaakAway was running the annual contest to predict the Opening Day roster. Here’s a post from him today reminding us of the re-boot.

 

Hey, Haak, I thought of a possible tweak. What if we did our 26-man lists as planned, but with bonus points or tiebreakers for naming the four additional players we think will make the Opening Day 30-man roster?

 

Kyrie eleison

As we all know, today is the Fourth of July, and without getting overly political, I think it’s fair to say that this “birthday” comes during one of the darker periods in American history. We can only hope and pray that by this time next year, things are better and brighter than they are now. As for all y’all, I hope that you are safe and healthy and happy on this holiday. We’re all in this together. Lefty out.