A plethora of candidates are shooting for the last spot in the Giants' bullpen this year. Who has the upper hand?
The guaranteed spots in the bullpen, barring injury:
- Sergio Romo
- Santiago Casilla
- Jeremy Affeldt
- Javier Lopez
- Jose Mijares
And the mostly guaranteed spots in the bullpen, considering he was a) quite good, and b) trusted enough to be on the World Series roster last year:
- George Kontos
Which, with five starters, means there's one more spot if the Giants are going to get to a 12-man pitching staff. Ramon Ramirez would seem to have the upper hand. He already knows where the bathrooms are and everything. But he's on a minor-league deal, and I don't think there are any guarantees with him, considering he had something of a down year last season.
There are other candidates with extensive major-league experience (Scott Proctor, Chad Gaudin) and a couple of wild cards who could force the Giants' hand (Heath Hembree, Sandy Rosario). Think about what Gregor Blanco did to get on the bench last year, and pretend a reliever did something similar -- it could happen.
This will kick off the StoryStream, which will hopefully be used as a compendium of the various blurbs, successes, and failures relating to the candidates. First up, a blurb on Chad Gaudin, via Alex Pavlovic:
Chad Gaudin was also throwing noticeably hard, but not because he was trying to impress anyone. The 29-year-old right-hander surely knows to pace himself by now. Either way, he was impressive while throwing to Posey.
"The guy has a lot of experience and he’ll get a good look," Bochy said. "You have to like the things he can do on the mound – he can sink the ball and he’s a strike-thrower. He’s a veteran presence you always like to have on the mound.
Sounds good, except know this: Gaudin is the charter member of the looks-like-he-should-be-much-better club. You might remember Julian Tavarez being a member of this club. It's where a pitcher has pitches that dart and dip and dooble and dwink in and out of the strike zone, and you're convinced that you're watching the Next Great Pitcher. Except it never happens. Tyler Walker was up there, too.
This is Chad Gaudin:
This is also Chad Gaudin:
Which isn't good. That isn't to say he's a guaranteed failure. He's only 29, and there are all sorts of good relievers in baseball right now didn't show up until they were close to their 30s. Santiago Casilla, for one. Javier Lopez, for two. So don't take the Gaudin line as some kind of permanent stain on his record. It's just a reminder that you can't take his stuff at face value. It's always looked like superlative stuff. But stuff ain't results.
Be warned, Giants.
(But be appropriately curious, too! He could be really good if he harnesses that stuff!)