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Sergio Romo will take over the closer job full-time in 2013.
The Giants have historically carried 12 pitchers and we should expect nothing different in 2013. After the five-man starting rotation, there will be seven relief pitchers on the squad.
Barring injury, six of the positions are already occupied by Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, Jose Mijares and George Kontos. This leaves only one remaining available spot.
There are several candidates for the final spot in the bullpen. This pitcher would ideally be able to throw more than one inning and also be utilized as a spot-starter, should the need arise due to a rainout, an illness or injury.
The candidates for the final spot include Scott Procter, Jean Machi, Dan Otero, Dan Runzler, Steve Edlefsen, Yusmeiro Petit, Ramon Ramirez, Chad Gaudin, Brett Bochy and Heath Hembree.
Proctor is a 36-year-old journeyman who pitched in Korea in 2012. In 2011, his last season in the majors, Proctor was ineffective with an ERA of 7.14 and a WHIP of 2.008. Proctor's last good season in the majors was in 2007, so he is definitely a long shot.
Machi is also a journeyman and finally made it to the majors in 2012. He is 31 years of age and needs to break through and solidify his status as a big league pitcher.
Otero and Edlefsen appear to be Triple-A level pitchers, but they will have a chance to compete for the job nonetheless.
Runzler has outstanding stuff and can be dominant when he's on. However, he has struggled with his consistency and staying healthy. He's also a lefty, so his best chance would be if he can beat out Mijares. It's highly doubtful the Giants will keep four lefties in the bullpen.
Petit could be a valuable addition as he has experience as a starter and a reliever. He spent most of 2012 as a starter with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Fresno, and even got a call-up for one start, which occurred due to a rainout.
Ramirez was a contributor to the Giants' 2010 world championship, then was traded, along with Andres Torres, following the 2011 season to the Mets for Angel Pagan. Ramirez had a subpar year in 2012, with an ERA of 4.24 and 1.461 WHIP, the highest of his career.
If Ramirez can regain his form of 2010 and 2011, when he was with the Giants, he has a good chance to make the opening day roster.
Gaudin signed a minor-league deal with the Giants and will get his shot to compete for the final relief role. He is a true journeyman, having played with 8 different organizations in his ten year career. He also spent two separate stints with the A's and Yankees.
Gaudin will need to do much better for the Giants than he has done in recent history. Not since 2006, with six full seasons in between, has Gaudin crafted an ERA below 4.40.
The other Bochy in camp is Bruce's son Brett, who is a hard-throwing right-hander. Brett earned his way to spring training with a very strong 2012 showing at Richmond, the Giants' Double-A affiliate. Bochy threw 53.1 innings and allowed only 29 hits, while walking 18 and striking out 69.
Bochy was forced to miss the latter part of the season due to arm fatigue. He had Tommy John surgery in 2010, but has recovered nicely, as his 2.53 ERA and 0.881 WHIP proves. Bochy was the closer for Richmond, collecting 14 saves.
Brett has a definite chance to make the roster, regardless of whether his dad is the manager.
The Giants are really hoping that Heath Hembree seizes the job. Hembree has a live arm and could be a closer in the future. In three minor league seasons covering 107.1 innings, Hembree struck out 143 hitters. His WHIP is a very solid 1.118.
Hembree suffered from elbow trouble which forced him to miss some time last season. If he's healthy and proves he's ready for the majors, he would be a big addition to the Giants' bullpen.
Although it's very unlikely, there is the outside chance that Brian Wilson will opt to return to the Giants. If that were to occur, Wilson would definitely capture one of the relief roles, provided that he's healthy.