It’s been a while since the San Francisco Giants had the champagne problem of having too many good players on the roster.
The 2021 San Francisco Giants have the champagne problem of having too many good players on the roster.
Don’t mistake me for saying that the Giants have too many great players on the roster. They’ll still almost surely be mired in mediocrity because they sorely lack in frontline talent.
But they have too many good players on the roster, which is to say, they’ll have to leave some good players off the roster. And right now, all eyes are on second base.
The Giants received stellar seasons from both Donovan Solano and Wilmer Flores a year ago. They finished sixth and seventh, respectively, on the Giants in wRC+, and second and third among players with at least 200 plate appearances. The former won the Silver Slugger Award; the latter led the team in home runs.
So what did the Giants do with the offseason? They handed out the first three-year contract of Farhan Zaidi’s tenure. To Tommy La Stella. Who is primarily a second baseman. And that all comes while still having Mauricio Dubón, a natural second baseman turned center fielder, on the roster.
If I sound bitter, I’m not. It’s actually quite refreshing. The Giants are in the business of acquiring talent and figuring out the details later, and I am 109% on board with that.
I’m just curious what the “figuring out the details later” part will look like.
So let’s do some quick roster math.
MLB recently released its health and safety protocols for 2021, which confirmed that active rosters will have 26 players. Here’s my back-of-the-napkin math for the Giants:
Insert some names here.
Starting infielders at non-2B positions
That puts the Giants at 19 players. Add in the Solano/Flores/La Stella triumvirate and they’re at 22.
That leaves four open spots, which is good, because the Giants only have one outfielder listed above. They’ll want to squeeze in some of the Dubón, Austin Slater, Alex Dickerson, Darin Ruf, and LaMonte Wade Jr. crew in there. But when you look at it through this lens, it’s a lot easier to find space for the trio of infielders than I was initially thinking when I set out to write this article.
Still, assuming the Giants use those four spots on outfielders, the focus on second base creates some uneasiness for some. There’s no third catcher. There’s no one who looks super competent backing up Crawford at shortstop, and pulling Dubón back into the fold might be the best bet there. La Stella is the only person who can platoon with Longoria at third, and he has not looked comfortable there defensively.
Those are semi-manageable issues, and baseball has a way of naturally providing answers in the form of performance and injuries (it’s still unclear if Belt will be healthy by Opening Day).
Having talent is better than not having talent, and while it might initially look like the Giants need to start calling around to find a trade partner for one of their myriad middle infielders, it seems more likely that they’ll just suit them all up instead.