Aaaaaaaand…we have BASEBALL! Despite grim predictions about the weather in Arizona today, I just checked the weather forecasts for both Scottsdale and Tempe (where the Giants play the Angels today), and it looks chilly (51 degrees at game time) but not a drop of rain in sight.
Giants at Angels, 12:10 p.m. PST, Tempe Diablo Stadium
Chris Stratton (RHP) vs. Dillon Peters (LHP)
Radio: KNBR TV: Prime (Angels–available if you have MLB TV)
And here’s the lineup. Bochy was so excited he posted it yesterday!
A few thoughts about the lineup because IT’S THE VERY FIRST ONE! If we’re a bit rusty on our Cactus League knowledge, it’s typical for the regulars not to play in the road games and the B team to go instead, though there is a rule that you have to have at least four players from your major league roster* at a road game. (People spend $$$$ on game tickets.) So we won’t see Belt, Panik, Crawford, or Longoria (and Bumgarner) until the Scottsdale Stadium home opener tomorrow (Sunday). And Posey and Duggar are being slow-played and won’t debut until next weekend, though Buster may DH before then. As for Duggar, in a Chronicle article, Bochy said he’s doing fine but “we just don’t want him diving for a ball.”
*Without looking it up, who are the players in the lineup who currently on the Giants’ major league roster? (There are five.)
In the meantime, today we have Mac Williamson batting cleanup. Alex Pavlovic also had a piece yesterday about Mac trying to make it back from the concussion that ruined a promising season. We will also see Cameron Maybin leading off and playing RF. Andrew Baggarly had a nice piece about him yesterday, highlighting his long-time connection with Giants’ hitting coach Alonzo Powell. (As a side note, Maybin has during his career been traded for not one but two probable Hall of Famers. Without looking at the Baggs article, who are they?) As I mentioned in the comments yesterday, I’m struggling with my final choices for the first round of My25ManGuys™ (more on that in a minute), and after reading the article, I put Maybin into the latest draft of the roster I’ll send to HaakAway soon. (The article also mentioned that “the organization loves” Rule 5 Guy Drew Ferguson, so… Ferguson will be in CF today.) The other interesting names in the lineup are newly acquired Yangervis Solarte batting third and playing third and Henry Ramos (brother of top prospect Heliot) at DH.
You have until Monday (Feb. 25) to get in on the fun of trying to predict the Opening Day roster. We have two checkpoints, one early in spring training and one near the end. Obviously right now we don’t know a bunch of things yet: (1) who might be injured (2) who might have a bad/great spring (3) whom the Giants might still obtain/trade/DFA in the coming weeks. Still, it’s fun to speculate based on what you know right now and later see how close you came. Here’s a screenshot of HaakAway’s post about it yesterday.
MrLefty and I had a lively discussion over dinner about my evolving list, and we came to the conclusion that…we don’t know. Now, before you say “Well, duh, you don’t know; it’s Feb. 23,” we mean more than the obvious uncertainty that we’d have any year at this time. What we really don’t know yet is exactly how Zaidi rolls. For example, are Ferguson and Bergen sure things because no way would Dr Z waste Rule 5 picks, or are they low-risk flyers that Zaidi won’t hesitate to give back if he thinks he has better options? If Solarte or Parra look awful in spring, is Zaidi going to care that they’ve been friends with Sandoval since childhood? Or…is Sandoval himself safe, or did he outsmart himself by recruiting Solarte? Bochy loves Sandoval and they go way back, but it wasn’t Zaidi’s team that Pablo was the World Series MVP for. And speaking of Bochy, how do the Zaidi/Bochy dynamics play out over the coming months in this, Zaidi’s first year and Bochy’s last one? (I’m reminded that in Moneyball, when the old school manager wouldn’t do what Billy Beane wanted, Beane promptly traded the guy that Art Howe was favoring.)
Final odds and ends
After last week’s insane run of transactions (see my last post for the lengthy list), there was one 40-man transaction this week.
The #SFGiants claimed Hanser Alberto, an infielder, from Baltimore and designated Jake Barrett for assignment.
— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) February 22, 2019
The fun part about this is that Alberto became available after the Orioles DFA’d him to make room for…Josh Osich. So the Giants and Orioles in effect traded Osich for Alberto. Barrett was the guy added a couple weeks ago, replacing Mike Andreoli, who in turn had replaced Derek Law. The acquisition of Nick Vincent a couple days ago made Barrett expendable. In fact the Giants actually have a ridiculous number of relievers vying for 1-2 open spots at most. Grant Brisbee broke this down in The Athletic, speculating that the Giants are stockpiling bullpen arms and might trade somebody(ies).
And this week in #BryceWatch, we have a report of the Phillies’ owner’s private jet in Vegas and a confirmation that Phillies personnel are there to “meet-and-greet” with Harper.
Barring something completely unexpected, Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies will not be consummating a deal tonight, league sources tell ESPN. Owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas for more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal, sources said.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 23, 2019
Is it just me, or should “meet and greet” maybe have happened like back in December?!
The only free-agent name I’m more tired of than “Bryce Harper” is “Kevin Durant,” and I’m just moving forward in my heart and mind assuming that Harper’s going to be a Phillie. Cool. Whatever. I’m still finding myself intrigued with the new Giants regime, with the mix of youth and athleticism in camp, and with the possibility that one of those quiet under-the-radar pickups could be a big surprise this year.
And even without Bryce…DID I MENTION THAT THERE’S A GAME TODAY?! Lefty out.