The San Francisco Giants, already in position to struggle in 2020, just got a second dose of bad news. Two of the team’s only everyday position players — perhaps their only two everyday position players — will not start the season on the active roster.
First baseman Brandon Belt (heel soreness) and third baseman Evan Longoria (strained oblique) will not be on the initial 30-man roster, per manager Gabe Kapler. The injuries for both players are mild, but between the fact that they’re lingering and the shortness of Summer Camp, neither All-Star will be ready or Thursday’s Opening Day festivities against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kapler said Belt and Longoria will begin the season on the injured list.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 20, 2020
That doesn’t mean they’ll be out long, with Kapler suggesting they’ll be back a few days into the season.
It’s a hit to the team’s limited talent pool. ZiPs predicts both players to be two of the Giants most valuable, even though that isn’t saying much.
It will be interesting to see what the Giants do in the absence of the two steady veterans. Wilmer Flores, Pablo Sandoval, and Austin Slater were all expected to make the Opening Day roster, and can each play third and first. Darin Ruf is an option at first, and Yolmer Sanchez and Donovan Solano are candidates at third. Zach Green is also in camp, and can play both positions.
There will, however, be a situation where the Giants will have to make room for Belt and Longoria when they’re ready to return, with is easier said than done in a year where they don’t have access to many of the players who have options. So Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris might have their work cut out for them a little bit. One option is simply to not fill their spots.
He's not ruling out any point in the opening series for them, which means they could be on the roster but wouldn't necessarily be able to play.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) July 20, 2020
Either way, the Giants will be a little bit less watchable, with a little bit slimmer of a chance of victory come Thursday. Oh joy. Just what we were all looking for.