A few days ago, San Francisco Giants President of Baseball Operations was on a Spring Training broadcast and seemed to reveal the team’s plans for the Opening Day roster. I wrote about what the roster would look like, but cautioned you not to take your money to Vegas to bet on the final 26.
And indeed, two of the names that I felt Zaidi had said would make the Opening Day roster will not be there: outfielder Bryce Johnson and right-handed pitcher Sean Hjelle.
Instead, they’re replaced by Brett Wisely and the newest member of the organization, Matt Beaty, who was acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Royals a few hours before the game.
The Beaty trade seems to have impacted multiple people’s roster spots, which created an unfortunate situation: Wisely’s parents won’t be at his first MLB game, because the Giants informed him on Wednesday night that he wouldn’t make the roster, causing his family to cancel their flights.
“My emotions are all over the place,” Wisely said.— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) March 30, 2023
If Wisely and Beaty are both on the roster after not being in the plans on Wednesday night, that means two players that were in the plans are now starting the season elsewhere. Johnson is likely one of those, and Hjelle might be as well, or perhaps outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who has been granted his request for a release.
Kapler says Johnson and Hjelle did everything they needed to do to make the team but the roster needs were a little different initially. It sounds as if both are in the plans soon, especially Hjelle.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 30, 2023
Most notable on the Giants roster is the addition of Wisely, who has played just five games in AAA. That’s fairly unlike the Giants, but they love his versatility after playing him at all three spots up the middle in spring. He’s also their only left-handed hitting infielder (other than first base).
Also of note is that the Giants are including just 12 pitchers, and 14 position players. That will likely change before long, but with off days after their first, fourth, and 12th games of the year, and with seven of their 12 pitchers capable of pitching starters innings, it’s a good time to load up on hitters.
And so, with that, here’s the Giants Opening Day 26-player roster:
LaMonte Wade Jr.
And if you’re wondering who gets the nod when the first game begins, well ... there are a few surprises there, too.
#SFGiants Opening Day lineup— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) March 30, 2023
LaMonte Wade Jr – 1B
Michael Conforto – RF
Wilmer Flores – 3B
Joc Pederson – DH
Mike Yastrzemski – CF
Thairo Estrada – 2B
Brandon Crawford – SS
Blake Sabol – LF
Roberto Pérez - C
Logan Webb – RHP
Four things stand out. First, Flores is getting the start at third base over Villar. Sounds like that’s more of an Opening Day thing than an everyday thing.
Flores is in the lineup rather than Villar today but the plan is still to give Villar the bulk of starts at third. Flores’ calm demeanor makes him a good choice for opener in NY.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 30, 2023
Second, Davis is coming off the bench. Gabe Kapler has quite a difficult task figuring out how to split up infielder time, and Davis and Villar both being out of the lineup is further evidence of that.
Third, Pérez is getting the catcher start over Bart. It always seemed like a bluff when Kapler said Bart’s spot on the roster wasn’t guaranteed, but they’re down on him enough to not have him be the first stringer.
And fourth, Sabol makes his MLB debut and confirms that the Giants will, indeed, have 17 Opening Day left fielders in 17 years.
What a day.