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Giants avoid roster crunch on waiver wire bonanza day

The Guardians and Reds claimed all the marginal upgrades who could’ve helped the Giants, but there is a silver lining.

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

I guess it was stupid, silly, ignorant, ridiculous, blogger-level intelligence to presume that the San Francisco Giants would benefit from a bunch of cheap baseball team owners holding onto their money and not claiming any of the players the Angels made available on waivers. As we learned this morning, the Giants came away with none of them.

The Cleveland Guardians claimed pitchers Lucas Giolito, Matt Moore, and Reynaldo López; the Reds claimed slugger Hunter Renfroe and wizard defender CF Harrison Bader. OF Randal Grichuk and reliever José Cisnero went unclaimed.

It’s a bit of a bummer that the Giants were denied the chance for one last marginal upgrade that only cost them money, because going out on the 1-2 of A.J. Pollock and Paul DeJong is a little disappointing. Technically, Randal Grichuk is just barely an improvement over A.J. Pollock, but that’s an argument for another day. Still, there’s plenty of sizzle to be had for those of you deeply concerned with the roster construction.

The silver lining in all this is that the Giants avoided adding to their upcoming roster headache. Even one of these waiver claims would’ve been a problem. Tomorrow, rosters expand from 26 to 28. The team’s 40-man roster is full.

Here are the group of players who, as far as I know, don’t have season-ending injuries and will return at some point (date eligible to return in parenthesis):

John Brebbia: 60-day IL, (was eligible August 17th, but has only 2 rehab appearances)
Brandon Crawford: 10-day IL (was eligible to return August 29th)
Ross Stripling: 15-day IL (August 31st)
Michael Conforto: 10-day IL (September 3rd)
AJ Pollock: 10-day IL (was eligible to return August 19)

The roster expansion makes it easy to add Ross Stripling and Brandon Crawford...

Figure the Brebbia return is TBD while he rehabs, which delays the dual 40-man and active roster issue for at least a week or two, but that still leaves the open questions about A.J. Pollock and, to a lesser extent, Michael Conforto — though, don’t forget about Keaton Winn, who’s down there pitching in Triple-A.

I’m sure the Giants are expecting an IL trip for somebody very soon which will make it easier to juggle this, but regardless, I don’t think they’re going to want to keep Michael Conforto away for very long — although, a hamstring strain can be nasty. That’s what Marco Luciano is facing and the initial report said he could be out for “several weeks.

With Brebbia being — really — the only 40-man issue to deal with, there shouldn’t be much of an issue getting him back onto that part of the roster. If Luciano’s issue is as severe as that initial report, then he could get moved to the 60-day IL to open up a 40-man for Brebbia; but how to then get him — but also Conforto and/or... no, seriously... A.J. Pollock — on the active roster?

Well, the Giants could always release Alex Wood.

That would be a huge dick move to do that and deny him an opportunity to possible get onto a playoff team, but they did the same thing last year with Joc Pederson, much to his chagrin; and, it would prevent him from rejoining the Dodgers and making the Giants’ life miserable in the final month (or postseason, should they meet there again). This would be the funniest option, especially if the Giants did it to get A.J. Pollock onto the roster.

And why wouldn’t they try to bring him back at some point over the season’s final weeks? He was Zaidi’s big move at the trade deadline and it would fit the pattern of human behavior that he’d try one more time to salvage a little bit of the maneuver to save face. He’s had just 6 plate appearances. Zaidi gave Scooter Gennett 67! The timing could still work out so that he is able to come back, he underperforms, and the Giants need a roster spot for Brebbia.

So, to clear a 40-man spot:

  • transfer Marco Luciano to 60-day IL
  • release Alex Wood
  • release A.J. Pollock

And then two more options that should at least be mentioned:

  • DFA Sean Hjelle
  • DFA David Villar

I think Hjelle makes a bit more sense than Villar in this extreme scenario, but only because the Giants are a little thin at third base, depth-wise. They both have too many options for the Giants to simply cast aside, so that’s why I’d think it extreme at this point.

And so, absent some ILs, the Giants will probably still need to figure out who to option whenever Conforto is ready. Would the Giants really option Wade Meckler? That leaves Casey Schmitt, who’s definitely most likely, even if the team is a little thin at third.

All of this means the Giants don’t really have wiggle room to add in Joey Bart or bring back Heliot Ramos — again, barring some injuries — and potentially blocks an intriguing arm like Keaton Winn some extra major league time; and then there’s Blake Sabol, who’s squatting on a spot because of his Rule 5 status. I’ve joked before about how Farhan Zaidi is doing a speed run of the Sabean era, and this minor roster crunch that will almost certainly get dealt with by injuries feels very familiar.