Last Saturday Without Baseball

hat-tip to ClutchUp

 

by DrLefty

I was at the last regular season game the Giants played, September 29, 2019, Bochy’s farewell game. I was fortunate enough to get to spring training before everything shut down and attended the last weekend of games in Scottsdale. One week later, I reflected sadly on “a spring without baseball.

 

TWG photo at Willie Mays statue, September 29, 2019
Rich Aurilia, DrLefty, & Mavo, March 8, 2020, Scottsdale Stadium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, almost four months after the 2020 season was supposed to start, in the midst of a global pandemic that is still rampaging in the U.S., and following labor strife that looked like it was going to shut down any chance of baseball before it started–it looks like this week, there will be Giants baseball.

 

30-man roster musings

Some of us sent our ballots to HaakAway for last night’s deadline, so I can speculate away now. Here is what I sent.

Position players: Brantly*, Heineman*, Belt, Flores, Dubon, Solano, Sanchez*, Crawford, Sandoval, Yastrzemski, Pence, Dickerson, Ruf*, Slater, Duggar (15)
Pitchers: Cueto, Samardzija, Gausman, Smyly, T. Anderson, Webb, Watson, Rogers, Gott, S. Anderson, Navas*, Suarez, Peralta, Menez, Jimenez (15)
IL: Longoria, Hamilton, J. Garcia
*not on 40-man roster
Cuts (26-man roster):
Before there are cuts:
  • Hamilton will come off the IL, and Duggar will be optioned.
  • J. Garcia will come off the IL, and Menez(?) will be optioned.
  • Longoria will come off the IL, and…?
  • Bart will be on the ML roster
Leaving (final 26-man roster)
C=Bart, Heineman
INF=Belt, Flores, Dubon, Crawford, Sandoval, Longoria
OF=Yaz, Hamilton, Pence, Dickerson, Ruf
SP=Cueto, Samardzija, Gausman, Smyly, T. Anderson, Webb
RP=Watson, Gott, Rogers, J. Garcia, S. Anderson, Suarez, Jimenez

 

B-but…what about Joey Bart???
With Buster Posey out of the picture for the season, the best catcher available is Joey Bart. Everyone knows it, for example Evan Longoria, Wilmer Flores, and Mike Yastrzemski, all of whom made a point of bringing Bart’s name up when asked this week.

 

Joey Bart will not be in Dodger Stadium on Opening Day. He will be in West Sacramento with the taxi squad.

There’s a simple reason why and a more complicated one. The simple one is the age-old service time issue for high-pedigree prospects (see Bryant, Kris; Posey, Buster; Springer, George, etc.). Because the season is only 60 games and service time is prorated, the Giants only have to hold Bart out of five games to keep him from earning a whole year of service time and going on the free agent market sooner. The more complex one is that, under the March agreement between the league and the players union, if the season starts and then is stopped due to COVID-19, the pro-rate formula as to service time shrinks to however many games were actually played. As Andrew Baggarly explained it a couple of days ago, say Bart is the Opening Day catcher. The Giants play three games with him on the roster and then the season is shut down for good. Bart gets a full year of service credit. The same is true for 10 games or 20 or 40, but the risk goes down as the season continues.

There is no reason whatsoever for the Giants to not wait until at least Game 6. As to assuming the risk of the season being shut down and what that would mean for Bart’s service time, I guess we’ll have to wait and see about that one. My prediction, as you can see from my 26-man roster above, is that they will promote Bart at some point in the first month–after five games, of course.

Be that as it may, here are a couple of Bart highlights from the past few days.

And then there’s this. Who remembers why we should “thank Pablo Sandoval”?

 

Other considerations

The Giants have a 40-man roster problem. In fact, the current roster shows them having 42 players, but I assume that’s because they haven’t done the paperwork to move Tyler Beede, Reyes Moronta, and Aramis Garcia to the long-term injured list (usually 60 days, but I believe it’s 45 for this year). Those injuries take the list down to 39. In order to get to the 30-man roster I put together, Giants would have to add two catchers, Sandoval, Ruf, Sanchez, and Navas. With one open space, that’s five 40-man moves. I can think of a few guys who might not survive the cuts next week, especially those who are on the 40 but didn’t get invited to camp (Adon, Gustave, Shaw, Wong). If they cut all four of those, they’d still need one more spot–if my predictions are correct. Will Dereck Rodriguez, one of the few bright spots of the 2018 season, be a casualty? One of the Sams (Coonrod or Selman)? Avelino, since they have so many infielders that appear to be ahead of him on the depth chart? Jose Siri, since we don’t really know much about him, anyway?

Anyway, a lot of my own choices were related to this 40-man problem, especially bullpen spots.

 

Opening Day lineup?

I could do a whole post speculating on what the Giants’ lineup might look like on Thursday against Clayton Kershaw vs. Friday against Walker Buehler. In their most recent podcast, Baggs and Brisbee talked a lot about the incredible amount of platoon options (and positional options) the Giants will have on their roster. In fact, the only player who was not expected to be platooned was Evan Longoria, and oh, well.

It’s quite feasible that the Giants could have NO ONE in their Opening Day lineup who was at Petco Park for Opening Day in 2019. Without looking it up (and Crawnik, you don’t get to answer since you were there), who was in the Giants’ Opening Day lineup last year? I think the lineup next Thursday could have no more than four players from last year’s opener, and it could quite easily be zero. Amazing.

And, of course, we don’t know who’s going to be #13 in the never-ending list of different Opening Day left fielders since Bonds left after 2007. With Kershaw starting, maybe not Yaz or Dickerson. Ruf? Pence? (And if it is Pence, does that mess up the list, since he started in LF in 2018?)

 

This week’s schedule:

Monday, July 20: Giants at A’s, 6:40 p.m. (exhibition)–TV, NBCS-BA; Radio, KNBR

Tuesday, July 21: A’s at Giants, 6:45 p.m. (exhibition)–TV, NBCS-BA, Radio, KNBR

Thursday, July 23: Giants at Dodgers, 7:08 p.m.–TV, ESPN (Cueto vs. Kershaw)

Friday, July 24: Giants at Dodgers, 6:40 p.m.–TV, ???

 

Let there be baseball. Lefty out.