The San Francisco Giants have some decisions to make. Friday is the deadline to add prospects to the 40-man roster ahead of December’s Rule 5 Draft, which means we’re about to get some action.
The Giants have a lot of intriguing players that will be eligible for the draft but unlike in recent years, they don’t have a lot of filler on the 40-man roster. What little filler they do have is primarily small pickups to fill the 40-man gaps made when Kris Bryant, Kevin Gausman, Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani, and Johnny Cueto became free agents — and those five players all need to be re-signed or replaced.
Two or three years ago, the Giants had a seemingly indefinite number of players you could see them designating for assignment without it hurting the team. Now they’re not very many cuts away from the likes of Austin Slater, Mauricio Dubón, and Steven Duggar being up for consideration.
That’s compounded by the fact that the team has plenty of intriguing prospects who are Rule 5 eligible. Heliot Ramos is a lock to be protected, and I’d assume that the Giants are unwilling to bet that Seth Corry — one of their top pitching prospects — having an awful season will deter teams from selecting him.
Recent second-round pick Sean Hjelle will likely be protected (he’s exactly the type of player who would be a lock to get selected by another team, and have a good chance at sticking), and then there’s the whole host of 2020 standout performers: Randy Rodriguez, Prelander Berroa, Diego Rincones, Ricardo Genovés, David Villar, Kai-Wei Teng, and Ismael Munguia ... among others (I’m assuming that the ultra-talented Luis Toribio is safe, given his timeline).
Rule 5 protections are always an artful game of balancing how much you value a player, and how likely you think another organization is to draft — and keep — him. Given the amount of contributors currently on the 40-man roster — and given that the team is now focused on the immediate future rather than the distant future — it seems likely that they’ll only find the space for a few protections.
We’ll find out soon enough.