After Sunday’s game, the Giants’ third-straight loss, Bruce Bochy indicated that Tyler Beede will be optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento, in anticipation of the return of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. That answers the most immediate question of how the Giants’ roster will be reshaped as their pitchers finally return. But it was also the easy answer.
Now, two weeks into the season, the Giants’ rotation has a 3.97 ERA (15th in MLB) and the bullpen has a 3.34 ERA (12th in MLB). Those numbers honestly don’t sound so bad in of themselves, especially considering that the team has missed two starters and two back-end relievers since the start of the year, and missed a start from another key starter. But the team’s performance has been buoyed by a couple of great performances to offset some awful ones.
Now, as players come back, let’s talk about who is on the chopping block as we see pitchers return.
When Johnny Cueto Returns:
Tyler Beede - This isn’t a probability, this has been announced. Beede was not ready in Spring Training, where he gave up 14 hits in only 8.1 innings. He got one start at a level two levels below where he should have been, that looked good. And then over two starts in the majors, he walked eight and gave up nine hits in 7.2 innings. He’s not ready. He’s giving up too many hits. It would have been great for him to surprise everyone, but he didn’t. He’s only lived up to the disappointment that Giants fans are beginning to expect this season.
When Jeff Samardzija Returns:
The Giants are clearly expecting Samardzija back soon, since Beede will be optioned immediately and leave the Giants with four starters. They expect that, despite the Shark giving up six runs in his first inning of work back, with two errors and a Grand Slam heavily affecting things. Beede’s demotion leaves the team with four starters, so when Samardzija returns, it’ll be a reliever leaving
Sam Dyson (51%) - Dyson was one of those inexpensive pickups off waivers who showed flashed of being the back-of-the-bullpen guy that he once was. But this year, he’s given up nine hits in 6.1 IP, including two home runs. Even without any walks, Dyson’s work in the bullpen has helped the Giants fall into big holes, or fall deeper into them. The Giants won’t save any salary cutting him now, but maybe they’ll stay closer in games.
Derek Law (49%) - Or, the Giants might choose to not cut someone who will be lost to the team completely, despite poor performance, and instead option away a player who has options left. You can’t really judge Law by his numbers at either level. The number will neither blow you away nor be a condemnation. Sending Law down wouldn’t be unrealistic, if the team hopes Dyson can become a good pitcher again. At least, if Law has to improve he’ll do so where it won’t cost the Giants any wins.
When Will Smith Returns:
Smith is on the return path, with two relief appearances under his belt in San Jose. Who will be cut when the left-hander returns.
Josh Osich (95%) - Years ago, I was excited for David Aardsma, because I thought there would be something poetic about the player listed first in the Baseball Almanac (alphabetically speaking) would be the last guy in games, closing things out. In the last couple of years, I was looking forward to a Double-O lefty combo in the bullpen with Osich and Okert. I need to stop looking and rooting for name puns. Osich looked to have turned a corner in the Spring, with six hits and three walks in 11 innings, and 16 strikeouts. He even started this season off with a clutch performance in LA. But he’s given up 12 hits in 7.1 innings, and the Will Smith is a lefty coming back, that will pair nicely with Watson.
Sam Dyson (5%) - Obviously, this is if Dyson is not the sacrificial lamb when Samardzija returns, but if he’s around, he could go and Osich might stay. After all, Watson is less a lefty specialist than a late full-inning reliever, and the Giants may want Bochy to have two lefty specialist options in addition to him.
When Madison Bumgarner Returns:
Okay, this won’t happen until early June at the earliest. But let’s look ahead.
Derek Holland (70%) - Through 3 starts, Holland has a 4.60 ERA, the highest ERA of any of the starters who started the year in SF (though just a smidge above Ty Blach). But while Blach has shown both very good somewhat poor starts, Holland’s starts have been consistently mediocre. Sure, he leads the team with 16 strikeouts over 15.2 innings, but he just has let too many opponents get on base. He could easily be the odd man out, as Blach and Stratton have far more of a ceiling.
Derek Law/Josh Osich/Sam Dyson (30%) - Again, this is all about if some of these guys are still in the Majors by the time Bumgarner comes back, regardless of whether they get demoted in the other moves or something else.
When Mark Melancon Returns:
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…I’m laying odds, but I can’t see THAT far into the future. I’m not a fortune teller, and it will be quite some time before Melancon is back.