The defending World Series champs will open the year with a larger payroll.
According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, the club purchased the contract of catcher Guillermo Quiroz and optioned outfielder Cole Gillespie to Triple-A Fresno to set the final 25-man roster. The Giants announced earlier in the week that reliever Chad Gaudin had won the the job for the final spot in the bullpen and prospect Nick Noonan had made the team as a utility infielder.
That left one spot on the roster for the team to carry a fifth outfielder in Gillespie or a third catcher in Quiroz. With Hector Sanchez hobbled by a shoulder injury for most of the spring, the Giants decided to go with Quiroz instead of carrying an additional outfielder. First baseman Brandon Belt's ability to shift to left field may have factored into that decision as well.
Quiroz contract purchased and added to 25 man roster. Gillespie reassigned to minor league camp.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) March 31, 2013
Choosing Quiroz over Gillespie gives manager Bruce Bochy more in-game defensive flexibility since he can now use Sanchez as a pinch-hitter without having to worry about running out of catchers. However, the move weakens the Giants' bench offensively.
The 31-year-old Quiroz has hit just .206/.265/.272 in 282 big league plate appearances and .249/.322/.410 in his minor league career. Gillespie hasn't hit well in his brief major league time either, but he's hit an impressive .290/.393/.474 in his minor league career.
The Giants' Opening Day payroll will approach $150 million this season, according to contractual data from Baseball Prospectus' Cot's Baseball Contracts. The Opening Day payroll has increased from $82 million in 2009, to $96 million during the first World Series championship season, $118 million in 2011, $131 million last season and approximately $149 million this year.
Here is the 2013 salary and bonus information for each player who made the Opening Day roster:
SP Tim Lincecum: $22 million
SP Matt Cain: $20 million
SP Barry Zito: $20 million
RF Hunter Pence: $13.8 million
CF Angel Pagan: $12 million ($7 million salary, $5 million signing bonus)
2B Marco Scutaro: $8 million ($6 million salary, $2 million signing bonus)
RP Jeremy Affeldt: $8 million ($5 million salary, $3 million signing bonus)
3B Pablo Sandoval: $5.7 million
SP Ryan Vogelsong: $5 million
RP Santiago Casilla: $4.5 million
RP Javier Lopez: $4.25 million
C Buster Posey: $8 million ($3 million salary, $5 million signing bonus)
RP Sergio Romo: $3.5 million
OF Andres Torres: $2 million
RP Jose Mijares: $1.8 million
OF Gregor Blanco: $1.35 million
SP Madison Bumgarner: $0.75 million
IF Joaquin Arias: $0.925 million
RP Chad Gaudin: $0.75 million
IF Aubrey Huff: $2 million buy-out of 2013 option
Pre-arbitration players (making approximately $0.5 million on 2013): Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Nick Noonan, George Kontos, Guillermo Quiroz, Hector Sanchez, Tony Abreu (DL), Brett Pill (DL) and Eric Surkamp (DL)
However, the team has not increased payroll by making big splashes on the free-agent market. Instead, they've rewarded their own players via contract extensions.
Over the last two years, the Giants have extended the contracts of Posey, Romo, Casilla, Vogelsong, Sandoval, Cain, Lincecum and Bumgarner while also re-signing their own free agents in Lopez, Affeldt, Scutaro and Pagan. Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean were also recently rewarded with contract extensions for their work in putting together four straight winning teams.
Stability is the name of the game for the Giants. Sabean is the longest-tenured general manager in baseball, and the team is returning virtually the same roster that finished off a four-game sweep of the Tigers in the 2012 World Series.
The cost of that stability has been a near 50 percent increase in Opening Day payroll since 2009. Credit for that goes to the fans for supporting the team, the ownership group for putting the increased revenue into the payroll, Sabean for acquiring and retaining talent, Bochy for managing that talent and the players for delivering two World Series titles in three years.
The Giants open 2013 as baseball's model organization.