Giants Face Tough Decisions to Fill Out Opening Day Roster

Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced Thursday that 12 roster spots will be devoted to pitchers when the team opens its season April 6 at Arizona, CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly reported.

The Giants won't need a fifth starter until April 15 against Pittsburgh, which means they'll begin the season with eight pitchers in the bullpen. It also means having to make tough decisions to fill out the infield.

At this point it's safe to assume Gregor Blanco and Emmanuel Burriss have played their way onto the opening day roster. Blanco is hitting .344 with 11 stolen bases, exactly what the Giants could use from a fourth outfielder. With Freddy Sanchez likely headed to the disabled list to start the season, Burriss appears the likely candidate to start at second base. He brings more speed and has been hitting an encouraging .362 during spring training.

Blanco and Burriss's emergence means six players are competing for the three remaining spots: Brandon Belt, Brett Pill, Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot, Joaquin Arias and Hector Sanchez.

Each player certainly brings something valuable to the table. It just becomes a matter of which combination of the three makes the most sense at the start of the season, which is why I'm inclined to think Pill, Theriot and Sanchez make the team.

While few doubt Belt's ability at the plate, Aubrey Huff should get the first crack as the first baseman. He's the one getting paid $10 million and Bochy loves his veterans. Sending Belt to Fresno will give him consistent at bats to fine tune his swing, and when Huff might struggle, Belt will be ready to make the leap.

Keeping Pill on the team allows the Giants to give Huff an occasional day off and gives them a right-handed pinch hitter with power for late-game situations.

Fontenot and Theriot are not all that different players, which is why it doesn't make sense to keep both. Both provide solid defense in the middle infield and are average hitters. But Theriot's right-handed bat and pinch-hitting experience make him the favorite.

Arias has impressed defensively in camp, but his bat doesn't demand a roster sport and there doesn't seem to be room for him. We should see more of him in the future.

Which brings me to Sanchez. Either Chris Stewart or Eli Whiteside will take the backup catching role. Three catchers might seem a little overboard, but I think Sanchez is valuable. Although we may not want to think it, there's always the chance that Buster Posey could re-injure his left ankle (all signs in spring training point to it being good as new). Sanchez would provide some security at the position.

Sanchez could also see late-game action to give Posey rest. No one wants Posey's bat out of the lineup, but based on how cautious the Giants have been in spring training, it's not unrealistic to think they wouldn't give him a breather if possible.

And Sanchez has impressed at the plate this spring, hitting .405 with four home runs.

Of course, these are only my best guesses, and I could very well be proven wrong within the next couple of days.

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

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