The April roster, as it looks from a cold day in January:
Aaron Rowand – CF
Freddy Sanchez – 2B
Mark DeRosa – LF
Pablo Sandoval – 3B
Aubrey Huff – 1B
Nate Schierholtz – RF
Edgar Renteria – SS
Buster Posey – C
- Three open spots, with at least one going to a reliever. There’s probably only one spot left for a position player. Kevin Frandsen? Fred Lewis? Probably not. I’ll guess it’s Ryan Rohlinger, with Lewis and Frandsen sent to another team.
- Fred Lewis might be the best outfielder of the five listed – note that I’m not a rabid Lewis partisan, either – but I’d rather have a right-handed fourth outfielder like Matt Murton or Jonny Gomes rather than Lewis as the last option on the bench, especially if Ishikawa is going to hang around.
- Posey isn’t the eighth-most talented hitter on the team, but I’m assuming they’ll bat him eighth to take some pressure off, which is a move I don’t disagree with. By May, I’m hoping he’s obviously the best choice to lead off.
- I’d prefer any of the following to Bumgarner starting in the majors: Erik Bedard, John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, Ben Sheets, Doug Davis, and maybe Jose Contreras. It’s not that I think everyone in that list would outperform Bumgarner, but I’d prefer he start in AAA. A lot of those names are going to be way too expensive for a fifth starter, but if the Giants find an extra $5M in the pocket of a coat they haven’t worn in a while, I’d like them to revisit the Randy Johnson gambit from last offseason.
- The priority now that Huff has fixed the offense on his own should be another reliever. Kiko Calero was a dandy idea, as was Chan Ho Park. There are quite a few options left. Just as it was important to find a way to get Velez out of the starting lineup, so it goes for Merkin Valdez in the bullpen. As the long man, I can live with it. As a reliever who has to pitch high-leverage innings, forget about it.
- I’d start Bowker over Schierholtz, but that’s because I’m giddy about Bowker’s improved walk rate last year. That’s the kind of thing that should be rewarded. And if Schierholtz complained, I’d poke him in the chest with a grubby little coach finger and say, "Hey, pal, mix in a walk every couple of games, and we’ll revisit the situation." But I’m not offended that Schierholtz is getting the chance. Maybe he won't swing at those pesky hit-by-pitch-sliders this year.