San Francisco Giants: Projecting the 25-Man Roster for Spring Training
The San Francisco Giants' starting lineup, pitching rotation and six of the team's seven bullpen spots appear to already be set in stone.
There's still a long way to go before spring training, but barring an injury or trade, the Giants only need to fill a few spots on the bench and the remaining open spot in the bullpen.
Here is how the 25-man roster would look if the season started today:
- CF Angel Pagan
- 2B Marco Scutaro
- 3B Pablo Sandoval
- C Buster Posey
- RF Hunter Pence
- 1B Brandon Belt
- LF Gregor Blanco
- SS Brandon Crawford
- SP1 Matt Cain
- SP2 Madison Bumgarner
- SP3 Ryan Vogelsong
- SP4 Tim Lincecum
- SP5 Barry Zito
- Closer: Sergio Romo
- Set-Up: Jeremy Affeldt
- Set-Up: Santiago Casilla
- Set-Up: Javier Lopez
- Middle: George Kontos
- Middle: Jose Mijares
- Long-man: Chad Gaudin
- C Hector Sanchez
- IF: Joaquin Arias
- IF: Wilson Valdez
- OF: Andres Torres
- OF: Francisco Peguero
The battle for the final bullpen spot will ultimately come down to the spring training performances of Gaudin, wavier claim pickup Sandy Rosario, and minor leaguers Dan Otero, Heath Hembree, Jake Dunning and Dan Runzler.
This is just speculation on my part, but Mijares could wind up as a trade chip for a team in need of a lefty specialist because the Giants already have two lefties in the bullpen in Lopez and Affeldt. However, the Giants carried three lefties after they claimed Mijares off waivers from Kansas City last August, so they could conceivably do so again in 2013.
The battle for the final two bench spots behind Arias, Sanchez and Torres will hinge on the spring performances of non-roster invitees like Valdez, catcher Guillermo Quiroz, outfielder Cole Gillespie and minor leaguers like Peguero, Roger Kieschnick and Conor Gillaspie.
Top prospects in center fielder Gary Brown and shortstop Joe Panik will be invited to spring training again, but neither player is likely to make the team. Brown is closer to the big leagues, but the Giants will almost certainly want both prospects to play every day in the minor leagues.
Brown could repeat Double-A after an up-and-down showing in 2012, or he could be promoted to Triple-A. Panik will probably start the season at Double-A after a solid season with the Class-A San Jose Giants last year. Brown could get his first taste of the big leagues if one of the Giants incumbent outfielders were to under-perform or get injured, but Panik's first cup of coffee will likely wait until 2014.
With the major pieces of the roster intact, the battles in spring training will be for the unglamorous long relief and bench jobs. Thus, the most interesting story lines of spring training for San Francisco will center on how Lincecum looks after enduring the worst season of his career last year, how Pence bounces back from a trying second half, how svelte Sandoval appears and how much Belt can improve after a solid but unspectacular season.
The Giants remaining roster spots aren't likely to be what separates them from the rest of the National League West. Instead, the performances of players who are already secure in their jobs will be the difference between the team making the postseason again or staying home come October.
If Lincecum, Pence, Sandoval and Belt improve over their regular season performances from last season, it won't matter how much money the Dodgers ultimately spend.
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