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Guessing the Giants’ 25-man roster based on roster cuts

Who will win the outfield battle? Is Kelby guaranteed a gig?

MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start with an important point: I am ABSOLUTELY into the idea of Mac Williamson being the Giants’ Chris Taylor this year. Williamson is a 6’4” tight end who can hit baseballs 500 feet and was apparently as fast as Kelby Tomlinson last year. He’s revamped his swing, and he demolished the Cactus League. Yes, yes, yes, I have already subscribed to this newsletter.

But this story won’t begin on Opening Day because Williamson was sent down. He had an option left, so it was a foregone conclusion. He’ll be back.

It’s this bureaucracy that makes the 25-man roster relatively easy to predict. The players with options are going down. The players who make more than the minimum are at a disadvantage. Nothing about this should surprise anyone who’s been following the Giants this offseason.

So let’s figure out what the 25-man roster will be. Here’s who’s left:

Madison Bumgarner
Johnny Cueto
Jeff Samardzija
Chris Stratton
Ty Blach

What does this suggest? That the rotation is set. That’s probably the order. We pretty much knew this going into spring training, but here’s some closure.

Heck, even Alex Cobb is about to sign with another team, so I have to ditch that pre-written post about him joining the Giants, which is something that definitely exists.

Sam Dyson
Julian Fernandez
Cory Gearrin
Derek Holland
Mark Melancon
Josh Osich
Hunter Strickland
Tony Watson

There will probably be one of the above sent down, which means it’s a steel-cage match between Holland, Fernandez, and Osich. Considering that one of the open spots is because Will Smith is on the DL, I’ll guess that Osich is on. He’s pitched extremely well this spring, and he’s a key member of the Giants’ WHY ISN’T THIS LEFT-HANDER WITH THE MID-’90S FASTBALL BETTER? brigade, except he’s giving the team hope this spring.

That leaves a choice. Do the Giants take the veteran who also provides rotation depth, even though he’ll add nearly a million dollars to their luxury tax burden, or do they take the rookie who doesn’t know where the ball is going because he’s cheap and filled with potential? Neither one sounds especially like the Giants, so I’m curious. Really, really curious.

Buster Posey
Nick Hundley

No surprises here.

Brandon Belt
Joe Panik
Brandon Crawford
Evan Longoria
Pablo Sandoval
Kelby Tomlinson
Josh Rutledge
Andres Blanco

Sandoval has the roster spot, is having a great spring, and will cost the Giants as much as any minor leaguer they could dredge up. He’s on. That leaves the real roster battle between Tomlinson, Rutledge, and Blanco.

Tomlinson has the 40-man roster spot. That’s not a guarantee for him, considering the Giants are probably going to return Julian Fernandez to the Rockies and free up a spot, but that ignores that either Gregor Blanco or Derek Holland (or both) might need that spot. My guess is that there will be enough of a roster crunch where the Giants won’t want to expose anyone to waivers because of Josh Rutledge or Andres Blanco.

Hunter Pence
Austin Jackson
Andrew McCutchen
Gregor Blanco
Gorkys Hernandez
Jarrett Parker
Steven Duggar

Now this is the most fascinating roster battle of them all. Gorkys and Parker are out of options. Duggar is the future. Blanco is the past. There are arguments to make for all of them. I’ll guess the power ranking goes like this:

  1. Blanco — Knows the wifi password already
  2. Parker — Out of options, and the Giants don’t want to just give him away, even though he’s roughly Andrew McCutchen’s age
  3. Duggar — the future, and possibly the present, all for the low, low price of the major league minimum
  4. Hernandez — The right-handed CF gig is filled. Moose out front should have told you.

It would have been a lot easier if Blanco looked old and creaky. He did not. And while I still suspect that just one of Blanco/Holland makes the team because of luxury tax implications, I’m not sure how to parse the roster after that.

Which means that ... [cracks knuckles] ... I’ll just have to make the rest up.

My guesses, then:

The winners of the bullpen battle are Holland and Osich.

Kelby Tomlinson is the backup shortstop.

Parker and Duggar make the team, with Gorkys going on waivers and Blanco having to decide if he wants to accept a minor-league assignment. Although, I could also see Parker getting traded to a team that can fit him on the roster. Looking at you, Marlins.

SP: Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija, Stratton, Blach

RP: Melancon, Dyson, Strickland, Watson, Gearrin, Osich, Holland

C: Posey, Hundley

INF: Belt, Panik, Crawford, Longoria, Sandoval, Tomlinson

OF: Pence, Jackson, McCutchen, Parker, Duggar

I could see the Giants keeping Fernandez instead of Holland, which would allow them to keep Blanco, but I also think they’re very much into the idea of Duggar winning a full-time gig and pushing Jackson to a part-time super-fourth role, and they want that to happen immediately. It’d be cheaper. The ceiling is higher. This would be an easier decision if Blanco weren’t a valued member of two championship Giants teams.

Still, I’ll stick by this guess. The offseason is almost over, and here’s a possible Giants roster. It’s roughly the same as the roster we would have predicted at the start of February. .