Before the San Francisco Giants offseason begins in earnest, and players start to drop off the 40-man roster — and others added to it — I need to get to an article I’ve been meaning to write for six months.
I wanted to know how far back we can trace every player on the Giants roster. As in: what is their Giants history? Not just how long they’ve been Giants, but how far back their Giants history goes. For most players it’s one and the same; but not for all.
Here’s an example, since this exercise is equal parts silly and difficult to explain. I’ll use two players who aren’t on the 40-man roster: prospects Hunter Bishop and Will Wilson. Both players were drafted on June 3, 2019; Bishop by the Giants, and Wilson by the Los Angeles Angels. That means Bishop’s Giants story begins on that date.
Wilson didn’t join the Giants until December 12, 2019, when he and Zack Cozart were traded for a Player To Be Named Later. So Wilson’s story starts then, right? No! That’s what makes this exercise so fun (to exactly one person, I admit).
The Player To Be Named Later ended up being Garrett Williams, whom the Giants drafted on June 10, 2016. So that’s how far back we can trace Wilson’s path to the Giants.
No here’s the 40-man roster, in reverse chronological order. It covers 4,815 days.
August 11, 2021 — Luis González
Yes, that’s right, González is still on the Giants roster. Oh, you forgot that González was ever on the roster? What’s that, you never even knew González was on the roster? Well he was, and he is, with the Giants claiming the outfielder off of waivers, and putting him on the 60-day Injured List a few days later.
August 5, 2021 — Tyler Chatwood
Chatwood has been in the Majors for quite some time, but his Giants story is new (and, likely, over), as they signed him to a Minor League deal late in the season after the veteran right-handed pitcher was released by the Toronto Blue Jays.
May 31, 2021 — Sam Delaplane
Part of my reason for writing this article was to trace back the history of outgoing pieces in trades, but you can’t really do that when someone is traded for cash. And so Delaplane, a right-handed pitcher who is the most likely person on the 40-man roster to make you say, “who?” can only be traced back to late May, when the Giants sent cash to the Seattle Mariners for him.
April 11, 2021 — Thairo Estrada
The New York Yankees sent Thairo Estrada to the Giants. The Giants sent cash to the Yankees. You tell me who won that trade.
March 6, 2021 — José Álvarez
The Giants signed Álvarez, a left-handed reliever in free agency once Spring Training was well under way. He then rewarded them by having a stellar season.
As this list shows, the Giants don’t have a ton of Major League free agent signings on their roster.
February 26, 2021 — Scott Kazmir
It had been three years since he’d been signed by an MLB team when the Giants added Kazmir. It had been four and a half years since the lefty had thrown a pitch in the Majors.
February 17, 2021 — Jay Jackson
The Giants signed Jackson to a Minor League contract at the start of Spring Training. They do a lot of those. This one worked decently.
February 17, 2021 — Jake McGee
Two signings on one day! The Giants really went all out celebrating Michael Jordan’s birthday.
February 4, 2021 — Zack Littell
Signing a relatively-unknown right-handed reliever to a Minor League deal wasn’t exactly the birthday present I had in mind, but whatever.
February 4, 2021 — Tommy La Stella
A slightly more exciting birthday present.
January 14, 2021 — Alex Wood
It always made sense for the Giants to sign Wood. So they did.
January 4, 2021 — Curt Casali
Trying to figure out what the Giants would do about backup catchers was quite a talking point last offseason. They answered the question shortly after saying goodbye to the awful thing that was the year 2020.
December 21, 2020 — John Brebbia
The Giants signed Brebbia for $800,000 last offseason, in what was seen as an interesting move: Brebbia was recovering from Tommy John surgery, and wouldn’t be available until halfway through the year. It was presumed that he would only get Minor League offers, but the Giants were able to beat out the competition by giving him some guaranteed money.
December 16, 2020 — Anthony DeSclafani
The Giants shored up their rotation this year by signing DeSclafani to a one-year, $6 million deal. I’d say the team is pretty happy with how that worked out. Unfortunately, so too are the Los Angeles Dodgers.
December 10, 2020 — Dedniel Núñez
The Giants grabbed Núñez, a wildly hard-throwing right-handed reliever, in the Rule 5 Draft. They liked him enough to keep him on the roster all year even after he suffered a season-ending injury in Spring Training.
December 9, 2020 — Dominic Leone
Another Minor League signing. Another success story.
November 17, 2020 — Sammy Long
By now you’ve all heard Long’s story many times, so I won’t rehash it. It’s just cool that he’s on the Giants. And yes ... another Minor League signing.
November 10, 2020 — Jason Vosler
The Giants surprised a lot of people when, early in the offseason, they signed Vosler — yet to make his MLB debut — to a Major League deal.
February 12, 2020 — Wilmer Flores
It looked like the Giants were mostly done with free agency in 2020 when they signed Flores to a two-year deal, with a club option for the third year. Solid move.
February 10, 2020 — Jarlín García
The Giants claimed García off of waivers from the Miami Marlins as 2020 Spring Training was set to get underway. At the time I questioned why the Marlins, a bad team, would designate for assignment García, a quality left-handed pitcher with many years of team control. I still wonder.
January 31, 2020 — Darin Ruf
When Ruf was signed to a Minor League contract after playing well in the KBO, he was seen as a long shot to ever make the roster. And now look where he is.
December 10, 2019 — Kevin Gausman
The Giants signed Gausman as a free agent in 2019, then did the same a year later with the Qualifying Offer. Here’s hoping they make it three times in a row.
January 24, 2019 — Donovan Solano
I reckon we may have seen the last of Solano in a Giants jersey, but anytime you sign a player to a Minor League deal, and get three Major League years out of them, plus a Silver Slugger, I’d say it was a successful signing.
June 4, 2018 — Joey Bart
Bart was taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, serving as the final first-round pick before Farhan Zaidi took over.
June 14, 2017 — Alex Dickerson
In the 25th round of the 2017 draft, the Giants used the No. 756 pick on pitcher Franklin Van Gurp. Great name, but sadly hasn’t amounted to much. But the Giants got a whole heck of a lot of value for him by sending him to the San Diego Padres in 2019 for Dickerson.
July 2, 2016 — Kris Bryant
While Bryant was in the midst of his MVP season with the Chicago Cubs, the Giants were opening up the international signing period with a $60,000 bonus to Alexander Canario. Five years later, Canario and 2019 draft pick Caleb Kilian were sent to Chicago for Bryant.
June 10, 2016 — Caleb Baragar
Baragar was a ninth-round pick in the 2016 Draft, with the left-handed reliever being selected with the No. 275 pick. Six picks later, the Dodgers took Tony Gonsolin, so it was a good round for NL West relievers.
December 14, 2015 — Johnny Cueto
It seems like just yesterday that the Giants, fresh off a disappointing attempt to repeat as World Series champions, opened up their wallets for Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
October 28, 2015 — Camilo Doval
Doval was signed nearly four months into the international signing period, so it’s safe to say that his ascension to a reliever who appears on the precipice of dominance is a bit of a happy surprise.
July 2, 2015 — Kervin Castro
Just a little over six years after the Giants signed the then-16 year old Castro on the first day of the international signing period, for a $100,000 signing bonus, the right-handed reliever made his big league debut. He looks like he’ll be a key part of the bullpen for years to come.
July 2, 2015 — Tony Watson
Also signing with the Giants on the first day of the 2015 international signing period was right-handed pitcher Jose Marte. He, along with fellow pitchers Ivan Armstrong and Sam Selman, was traded for Watson at the deadline this year.
June 9, 2015 — Steven Duggar
Duggar was a sixth-round pick back in 2015, being taken with the No. 186 pick. Who knows what his Giants future holds, but he provided more value in 2021 than you expect a sixth rounder to provide in their entire career.
June 7, 2014 — Jaylin Davis
As you’ll see in a second, the Giants have representation — in some form or fashion — from all three days of a draft that happened seven years ago. Day three brought them outfielder Hunter Cole in the 26th round, with the No. 778 pick. A day short of three years later, the Giants traded the infamous Player To Be Named Later to the Texas Rangers for reliever Sam Dyson. In November of 2017, Cole became that Player To Be Named Later. At the 2019 trade deadline, the Giants sent Dyson to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Davis, as well as pitching prospects Prelander Berroa and Kai-Wei Teng. Teng and Berroa are exciting prospects, Davis is on the 40-man roster, and Dyson had an awful end to the season, and is now suspended for truly horrific domestic violence accusations.
June 6, 2014 — Austin Slater
You gotta love the eight-round picks that go on to have solid MLB careers, and Slater — taken at No. 238 — is exactly that.
June 6, 2014 — Logan Webb
Seven years after being a fourth-round pick, No. 118 overall, Webb blossomed into an ace and core piece of the Giants future.
June 5, 2014 — Tyler Beede
The Giants opted for a right-handed starting pitcher with their first-round pick in 2014, taking Beede with the No. 14 pick. So far it hasn’t worked out quite as they would have hoped, but the names drafted right after him haven’t worked out as planned, either, so maybe the draft is hard.
June 7, 2013 — Tyler Rogers
Rogers is a good reminder as to how long it takes players in the Minor Leagues. He feels relatively new to the Giants, yet has been in the organization more than eight years, after being the No. 312 pick ... taken in the same round of the same draft as 2021 teammates Mike Tauchman and Jimmie Sherfy!
June 6, 2013 — Evan Longoria
A day before the Giants selected Rogers, they used their first round pick on infielder Christian Arroyo. Arroyo now has a solid career going for him, but he was still a very raw prospect in December 2017, when the Giants sent him, pitching prospects Stephen Woods Jr., and Matt Krook, and veteran outfielder Denard Span to the Tampa Bay Rays for Longoria.
June 7, 2011 — Mauricio Dubón
Dubón’s future with the Giants is hanging in the balance a bit, but the 2019 trade for him still looks good. The Giants sent Drew Pomeranz to the Milwaukee Brewers in that trade, as well as right-handed flamethrower Ray Black, a seventh-round pick (No. 237 overall) in 2011.
March 18, 2011 — Gregory Santos
Santos is the type of person I had in mind when I thought up this article. The Giants planted the seeds for adding Santos, one of the top reliever arms on the farm, in March, 2011, when he was just nine years old. That’s when they signed international free agent Adalberto Mejía, a left-handed pitcher. In 2016, the Giants traded Mejía to the Minnesota Twins for Eduardo Nuñez. A year later, the Giants flipped Nuñez to the Boston Red Sox for Santos and Shaun Anderson.
March 18, 2011 — LaMonte Wade Jr.
Wade was quite a bit older than Santos when the Giants signed Mejía, but he’s the second player who can be traced back to him. The Giants weren’t done when they turned Mejía into Nuñez, whom they turned into Santos and Anderson. On February 4 of this year they sent Anderson to the Twins in exchange for Wade. Had they not found a trade for him, Anderson almost surely would have been designated for assignment ... instead, they now have a key part of their core in Wade.
June 10, 2009 — Mike Yastrzemski
We’ve got a second delayed Player To Be Named Later trade, this time featuring one of the Giants no-hitter throwers, Chris Heston. Heston was drafted in the 12th round in 2009, with the No. 357 pick. Despite the no-hitter, the Giants were done with him by the end of 2016, and sent him to the Mariners for a Player To Be Named Later.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2017 when that player was revealed: Tyler Herb. Herb did very little for the Giants, and a few days before the 2019 season began they sent him to the Baltimore Orioles for Yastrzemski, in a trade that no one looked twice at. An unsuccessful Minor Leaguer with a cool noun for a name traded for an unsuccessful Minor Leaguer with a historical baseball name. Seen as an exchange of pocket lint, the only run the trade got on this website was half a sentence in an article about how the Giants made a handful of different moves. I keep meaning to write an article on the best trades of the Farhan Zaidi era ... this one is probably at the top.
Note: This article initially omitted the Heston part of Yastrzemski’s past, because Herb’s transaction page on MLB’s website just shows him as being traded for cash. Thanks to user daveinexile for the catch.
June 10, 2009 — Brandon Belt
I’ll be wildly optimistic about whomever the Giants take in the fifth round of the 2056 draft, all because the Giants took Belt with the No. 147 pick many years ago.
Also, it’s rad that we can trace two of the team’s best players back to one day 12 years ago.
June 5, 2008 — Brandon Crawford
Crawford was taken in the fourth round 13 years ago, raising an important question: is he the best No. 117 pick in MLB history?
June 5, 2008 — Buster Posey
Posey and Crawford are twins, but Posey is the twin who was born 10 minutes earlier and gets to brag about being older for the rest of his life. He was drafted with the No. 5 pick in 2008, capping a three-year run in which the Giants used their first-round picks on Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Posey. Job well done.
I’m not sure this article was as interesting on (virtual) paper as it was in my head, but thank you for coming along with me for this silly exercise.