Feast your eyes:
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s dive in with the important bits.
Who didn’t make the team?
There are certainly some notable omissions. Despite a strong Summer Camp, Chadwick Tromp did not get the nod at catcher, as the Giants opted for the arguably safer duo of Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman.
Update: Tromp is apparently dealing with a mild injury.
Farhan Zaidi said Chadwick Tromp had put himself in a really good place to make the Opening Day roster, but is dealing with hamstring tightness so he stayed back from the road trip.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) July 23, 2020
The roster is also without veteran non-roster invitees Billy Hamilton and Yolmer Sánchez. Hamilton, a center fielder, was very late to camp for undisclosed reasons, and Sánchez, an infielder, was recently listed as having a stiff back. It’s unclear if the team kept those two off the roster because of those health concerns, or because they didn’t want to use roster spots on players who provide all of their value with the glove (and the legs, in Hamilton’s case).
Also of note is the absence of left-handed pitcher Jarlin Garcia, who is one of only two lefties in the player pool who didn’t make the roster. Garcia had a very strong 2019, and turned heads at camp, but was placed on the 10-day Injured List on July 8. It seems likely that he’ll be added to the roster at some point.
Veteran right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill did not make the roster either, nor did right-hander Dereck Rodríguez.
The Giants opted for many veterans, but there will also be a fair number of players who might make their MLB debut over the next few days. Outfielder and first baseman Joe McCarthy, left-handed reliever Caleb Baragar, and right-handed reliever Dany Jimenez (a Rule 5 selection) will all have the chance to appear in an MLB game for the first time in their career.
So many pitchers
In the standard 26-man roster that was originally expected fro the year, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see a team opt for 14 position players and 12 pitchers. And with 30 players to work with, the Giants stayed with the 14 position player notion, and went with 16 pitchers.
That’s a lot of pitchers, and six of them are left-handed. It’s clear that manager Gabe Kapler is going to play with the roster and try and exploit matchups.
Darin Ruf made the roster. This felt inevitable given how well he played in Spring Training, and how badly the Giants needed a power bat, but it’s good to remember just how much of an uphill battle he had to make the roster when he first signed a Minor League deal.
Two gotta go
Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria are starting the season on the injured list, and the Giants did opt to use all 30 spots on the active roster. Neither veteran is expected to be out long, so the Giants will have to clear two spots soon. The most obvious name is McCarthy, who can provide a left-handed bat at first in Belt’s absence, and who was a little bit of a surprising addition to the roster.
If I had to guess, it will be McCarthy and a reliever who are forced off to make room for the corner infielders.
Jaylin Davis didn’t have the best Spring Training/Summer Camp, nor was he good in his cup of coffee with the team last fall. But it’s clear the organization is high on him, and sees his power as being translatable at the big league level. So they’re giving him this chance, which emphatically feels like the right move to me. I’d expect to see him starting in most matchups against left-handed pitchers.
Other roster moves
In addition to the 30-man active roster, a few other moves were made. To clear space on the 40-man roster, the Giants designated for assignment outfielder Jose Siri and infielder Kean Wong.
Jose Siri and Kean Wong have been designated for assignment.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 23, 2020
Given the state of the world and the state of baseball, I don’t expect there to be nearly as many waiver claims this year as in other years. So the most likely scenario is that Siri and Wong pass waivers, and head to Sacramento’s alternate practice facility.
The Giants also revealed that outfielder Steven Duggar and left-handed pitcher Andrew Suárez will be on their taxi squad for the upcoming four-game series against the Dodgers. Teams are allowed three taxi squad players for each road series, and those three represent the available roster moves the team can make. It’s unclear if there’s a third player on the taxi squad for Los Angeles, or if it’s just those two. If there is a third, a catcher would be the obvious choice.
Taxi squad includes: OF Steven Duggar and LHP Andrew Suarez. If they add a third guy, it has to be a catcher.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 23, 2020
Zaidi said #SFGiants are still looking for a catcher from the outside. That person could end up as the third player on tonight's taxi squad.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 23, 2020
And there you have it. The Giants first ever 30-man Opening Day roster.