Happy Wednesday, San Francisco Giants fans.
The Giants, while not great, are deep. Deep with players who are either good, owed a lot of money, or young and promising. Sometimes even two of the three!
The result is that it hasn’t always been easy to make spots on the roster for players who deserve them. And with just a few weeks left in the season, the Giants are coming face to face with that.
Rookie catcher Patrick Bailey is eligible to return from the Injured List today, and all signs point towards that happening. His move should be a fairly simple one: if he’s activated, Joey Bart will be optioned to AAA Sacramento. That’s pretty straightforward.
After that, things get complicated. Veteran left-handed hitting outfielder Michael Conforto, out for the last few weeks, is due to come off the IL sometime this week. It may not have been the year Conforto envisioned when he signed with the Giants, but he’s still one of their better hitters, one of their few non-platoon bats, and one of their hottest hitters (he had a 1.083 OPS over the last 13 games before his injury). He’ll need to play, but how do they fit him on the roster? It’s hard to find any outfielder who should or would be the odd man out. Might the Giants just go heavy on the outfielders by optioning Casey Schmitt or designating Paul DeJong for assignment?
And if that happens another issue potentially arises: Marco Luciano made his return on Tuesday, playing a full game for AAA Sacramento. He didn’t do well, but that’s to be expected when a player is sidelined for six weeks. If he looks good this week the Giants will likely want to get him back on the roster for the final weeks of the season to give them a push. If Conforto takes the spot of an infielder, who leaves if and when Luciano arrives?
One solution is for the Giants to go from a 14/14 pitcher/position player split to a 13/15 one. With Keaton Winn impressing on Sunday and Sean Manaea looking excellent on Tuesday, the Giants just might have a five-player rotation at the moment. That would make it a lot easier to cut the bullpen short by an arm but ... who? Tyler Rogers, Ryan Walker, and Winn are the only players who have options there.
And all of this is without even mentioning Ross Stripling, who has been healthy and ready to contribute for about two weeks now, but with the Giants unable to find a spot for him.
Good problems to have, but a very curious puzzle that I have no idea how to solve.
What time do the Giants play today?
The Giants wrap up their series with the Cleveland Guardians this afternoon at 12:45 p.m. PT. It’s Kyle Harrison on the bump! Huzzah!