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Projecting the 2019 roster

It’s our first community projection of the offseason. Who will be on the Opening Day roster?

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Winter Meetings begin next week, and that’s usually around the time when major transactions begin to happen. Not usually the case with the Giants, but maybe this year will be different with Farhan Zaidi running the show.

It’s doubtful the team will invest in one of the premiere 26-year olds on the market, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t moves to be made. While recent reports have downplayed the idea that the team will trade Bumgarner, a trade of at least one of the current players on the roster seems likely, if for no other reason than that Farhan Zaidi likes to make complicated trades.

There’s plenty of intrigue to be had on the trade market in an environment where it’s clear most of the teams are trying to suppress labor costs (last year’s slow free agent market, this year’s multiple non-tenders) and the Giants certainly have some complicated, market-rate or simply overpriced contracts they might want to move to create flexibility for other moves. They also have players other teams might want.

Here’s the current 25-man roster as I see it (remaining years & AAV in parenthesis):

C - Buster Posey (3 years @ $18.556MM)
1B - Brandon Belt (3 years @ $14.56MM)
2B - Joe Panik (1 year @ $3.85MM)
3B - Evan Longoria (4 years @ $11.165MM)
SS - Brandon Crawford (3 years @ $12.5MM)
LF - Mac Williamson ($555,000)
CF - Steven Duggar ($555,000)
RF - Austin Slater ($555,000)

INF - Pablo Sandoval ($555,000)
INF - Alen Hanson ($555,000)
INF - Abiatal Avelino ($555,000)
OF - Chris Shaw ($555,000)
C - Aramis Garcia ($555,000)

SP - Madison Bumgarner* (1 year @ $12MM)
SP - Dereck Rodriguez ($555,000)
SP - Andrew Suarez* ($555,000)
SP - Jeff Samardzija (2 years @ $18MM)
SP - Chris Stratton ($555,000)

RP - Ty Blach* ($555,000)
RP - Derek Law ($555,000)
RP - Ray Black ($555,000)
RP - Reyes Moronta ($555,000)
RP - Sam Dyson (1 year @ $5MM)
RP - Tony Watson* (2 years @ $3MM)
RP - Will Smith* (TBD - arbitration projection: ~$4.1MM)
CL - Mark Melancon (2 years @ $15.5MM)

Current payroll (incl. estimated player benefits): $146.23MM | CBT threshold: $206MM

Some quick notes about this list:

  • If it wasn’t clear, “*” = left-handed.
  • I couldn’t decide who’d wind up on the bench, so there are 26 names listed here. You’ll get to fix that.
  • The following players are out of options next year: Mac Williamson, Derek Law, Alen Hanson, and Chris Stratton.
  • I’m expecting Johnny Cueto and his 3 years @ $22.18MM AAV to miss the entire season.

You might have your own thoughts about what needs to happen as the offseason gets going, but for me, I’ll go with the obvious: the Giants need outfielders. That position combined for 44 home runs and a slash line of .238 / .307 / .363. Their weighted on base average (wOBA) of .293 was third-worst in baseball, behind the White Sox and Marlins. It’s an easy area to upgrade. That’s where you come in.

How do you project Farhan Zaidi will remake the roster this month and beyond? I’m going to put a few restrictions on you before issuing the template:

  • They’re not trading Buster Posey or Brandon Crawford. Not only do they have full no-trade clauses, they’re just not going to be players who ownership would be willing to move.
  • They’re not trading Madison Bumgarner. At least not now. Probably during the trade deadline when the return can be a little better.
  • Remember that Mark Melancon has a full no-trade clause, too. Also, Brandon Belt has a limited no-trade clause, a list he can change every offseason. They’re not slam dunks to be moved for that reason, and combined with their injury track records, seemingly impossible.

With all that in mind, and the ~$50 million before the CBT kicks in, what do you project the team to do? If you don’t want to put yourself in Farhan Zaidi’s mind, then what would you like to see happen? Here’s your template:

C - Posey | 1B - Belt | SS - Crawford
2B -
3B -
LF -
CF -
RF -


SP - Madison Bumgarner
SP -
SP -
SP -
SP -

Bullpen: Mark Melancon

If someone winds up being right, maybe I’ll give them a prize. But no promises. At worst, you get to gloat about it.

For what it’s worth, here’s mine:

Lineup: Posey, Belt, Panik, Crawford, Longoria, Michael Brantley (LF), Duggar, Domingo Santana (RF) — trade Suarez and Will Smith for him (and maybe 1-2 prospects) |
Bench: Sandoval, Hanson, Martin Maldonado (C), Robbie Grossman (LF), Williamson |
Rotation: Bumgarner, Yusei Kikuchi, Rodriguez, Trevor Cahill, Samardzija |
Bullpen: Melancon, Watson, Dyson, Moronta, Black, Law

^^^^ - lol, so wrong