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Guessing the Giants’ 25-man roster for the National League Wild Card Game

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The pitching staff should be smaller, which means the bench should be bigger. Who should be on the roster for a winner-take-all game?

Does Eli Whiteside have a shot? Only time ... will tell.
Does Eli Whiteside have a shot? Only time ... will tell.
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Before you get too worked up about the Giants’ 25-man roster for the Wild Card Game, remember that Gary Brown was on the 25-man roster for the game in 2014, and you didn’t notice.

Juan Perez got an at-bat.

Joaquin Arias made an error as a defensive replacement.

You don’t remember any of this.

Which is all to say that it’s easy to make too much about the exact roster, especially considering it’s easy to load up on the bench players because you know you’re not going to need all of your starting pitchers. If you want speed, there should be room for speed. If you want defense, there should be room for defense. If you want power, you should follow the Orioles.

Let’s take a look at what the 25-man roster should look like.

Pitchers (11)

Madison Bumgarner
Sergio Romo
Will Smith
Derek Law
Hunter Strickland
Javier Lopez
Cory Gearrin
George Kontos
Santiago Casilla
Ty Blach
Jeff Samardzija

They took 10 pitchers in 2014, and this would follow the same format, just with an extra pitcher. Ty Blach would be there in case the game gets out of hand early. Jeff Samardzija would be there in case the game goes long — think Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS. And Casilla would be there to remind you of your own mortality and sense of general hopelessness.

Also, it’s my opinion that Madison Bumgarner should make the roster.

Casilla would seem to be superfluous here, but I’d also guess that Bochy would remove either Blach or Cueto before ditching him. I’m not sure if Casilla makes the NLDS roster, if needed. But they’re not going to poke him in the nose here.

Position players (14)

Buster Posey
Brandon Belt
Joe Panik
Brandon Crawford
Conor Gillaspie
Angel Pagan
Denard Span
Hunter Pence

Trevor Brown
Gorkys Hernandez
Kelby Tomlinson
Jarrett Parker
Ehire Adrianza
Eduardo Nuñez

I don’t think Nuñez will be in the starting lineup, but this sounds somewhat promising:

If he’s not there, go for Gregor Blanco or Tony Sanchez. There’s no way a third catcher is going to make it onto an NLDS roster, but it’s a nice comfort zone in the Wild Card Game for a team that’s carrying so few pitchers.

Omissions with this roster? Steven Okert, who pitched well. Josh Osich, who didn’t. Matt Moore and Johnny Cueto, who would start the next series. Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, who probably won’t make any of the rosters, though it’s possible that Peavy takes the long-relief slot that I’m assuming will go to Blach. Blanco, who’s been limited by injuries and given ground to Gorkys Hernandez. Albert Suarez, who can’t compete with the Blach party.

And Joe Nathan, who didn’t allow a run in seven outings with the Giants. I could see him on the roster over Blach, to be honest, at least for this round. Next round would be a stickier question. I could imagine Bochy sticking with Casilla over loyalty, but I also remember Barry Zito missing the roster entirely in 2010, so there are never any loyalty guarantees.

There shouldn’t be a lot of surprises, though. The Giants used just 45 players on the roster all year, and a lot of them are hurt or gone. There aren’t a lot of close calls or hard decisions, which is a benefit of carrying 10 or 11 pitchers instead of 13.

If the Giants win, though? That’s when the roster crunch will get extraordinarily messy. Start sharpening your pointy sticks for that battle. Should be fun.