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Weekend BP: Who’s next in the left field carousel?

The legendary curse continues.

Luis Matos diving in the outfield. Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Happy weekend, San Francisco Giants fans.

When the Giants signed Mitch Haniger to a three-year contract last offseason, it seemed like we were finally going to get an end to the infamous, inexplicable, and downright hilarious Opening Day left field curse that has plagued the Giants ever since Barry Bonds took his final swing.

Haniger, happiest in left field and clearly signed to be an everyday player, seemed likely to trot out to the left field grass on the first day of the field in 2023, 2024, and 2025, thus finally giving the team a repeat Opening Day left fielder.

Instead, he was injured when his inaugural Giants campaign began. So instead of ending the curse in 2023 and 2024, he seemed instead destined to end it in 2024 and 2025.


On Friday, the Giants traded Haniger and Anthony DeSclafani to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. And so we move on from Haniger, consistent Opening Day left fielder, before the adventure even started.

Who’s next?

It’s fairly safe to say that the Giants will not break the curse of consecutive Opening Day left fielders in 2024, since 2023’s special someone is the team’s third catcher and likely slated for AAA. However, if they face a left-handed pitcher — hard to predict, since we don’t know at all what the San Diego Padres’ rotation is going to look like — there’s a chance that Austin Slater could be out there, making him the first play to have multiple Opening Day starts at the position since Bonds, albeit not consecutively.

But it seems likely to be someone brand new. Asked on Friday how the team will replace Haniger’s power in the outfield, Farhan Zaidi pointed to two exciting prospects: the ultra-powerful Heliot Ramos, and the extremely talented Luis Matos, who is expected to add more power to his game over the offseason.

There are also a few outfielders remaining in free agency (Cody Bellinger and Teoscar Hernández, most notably), and perhaps a few that could be traded for.

Anyway, here’s the list. It’s still comical. It will continue to be comical until it ends.

2007: Barry Bonds
2008: Dave Roberts
2009: Fred Lewis
2010: Mark DeRosa
2011: Pat Burrell
2012: Aubrey Huff
2013: Andrés Torres
2014: Mike Morse
2015: Nori Aoki
2016: Ángel Pagán
2017: Jarrett Parker
2018: Hunter Pence
2019: Connor Joe
2020: Alex Dickerson
2021: Austin Slater
2022: Joc Pederson
2023: Blake Sabol
2021: ???

So give me your predictions, folks. Who’s the Opening Day starter in left field this year? And who is the person who finally breaks the curse?