Guillermo Quiroz may have locked down the final spot on the Giants’ 25-man opening day roster with one swing Saturday.
Quiroz hammered a three-run home run off Bartolo Colon in the seventh inning, accounting for all of the Giants’ run in a 4-3 loss to the A’s in the preseason finale.
Or the decision could have been made before Quiroz came to the plate on Saturday.
The Giants made their final roster moves before Monday’s season opener by purchasing the contract of Quiroz and adding him to the 40-man roster. Outfielder Cole Gillespie, in the mix as a fifth outfielder, was sent to Minor League camp. He’ll likely open the season in Triple-A Fresno.
With Quiroz on the roster, the Giants could use Hector Sanchez as a pinch-hitter. Sanchez is a switch hitter, which gives the Giants more options late in a game.
“He has a good, adjustable bat from both sides of the plate,” Giants vice president Bobby Evans said of Sanchez.
Sanchez battled a sore shoulder this spring. But he caught back-to-back games this weekend in minor league camp in Arizona, and Evans said he looks pretty good.
Still, the very fact that Sanchez was left in Arizona while the rest of the Giants came north shows that the Giants had — and may still have — concerns about Sanchez’s healthy. It seems evident that when Buster Posey gets a day off in the season’s early going, it will be Quiroz — not Sanchez — behind the plate. This will give Sanchez extra time to build strength in the shoulder so it doesn’t act up again.
The 31-year-old Quiroz, who batted .282 this spring, has played in 103 big-league games over eight seasons with the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles and Red Sox.
Not adding Gillespie means the Giants will open the season with four pure outfielders. But the ability of Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres to play all three outfield positions gives the Giants some flexibility. And the fact that all four outfielders are solid defenders, there won’t be any need to late-inning defensive replacements. Also, Brandon Belt remains an option in the outfield, as well as Joaquin Arias.
The final roster decision focused on Pablo Sandoval, who left Friday’s game with the A’s early after feeling some discomfort in his troublesome elbow.
Sandoval told manager Bruce Bochy that he was better Saturday and wanted to play. The Giants held him out as a precaution. Sandoval played catch before Saturday’s game, and will work out again Sunday before the team flies to Los Angeles Sunday afternoon, just to make sure everything’s working right.
Here is the Giants’ 25-man opening day roster for 2013
Projected Monday lineup:
- CF Angel Pagan
- 2B Marco Scutaro
- 3B Pablo Sandoval
- C Buster Posey
- RF Hunter Pence
- 1B Brandon Belt
- LF Andres Torres
- SS Brandon Crawford
- RHP Matt Cain
Other starting pitchers: LH Madison Bumgarner, RH Tim Lincecum, LH Barry Zito, RH Ryan Vogelsong.
Bullpen: RH Sergio Romo, LH Jeremy Affeldt, LH Javier Lopez, LH Jose Mijares, RH Santiago Casilla, RH George Kontos, RH Chad Gaudin
Bench: C Hector Sanchez, C Guillermo Quiroz, IF Nick Noonan, IF Joaquin Arias, OF Gregor Blanco
Friday was a big day for the San Francisco Giants, when they signed Buster Posey through the 2021 season, perhaps if 2022 if an option is picked up.
The deal, worth as much as $189 million, gives the Giants some cost certainty going forward. The offseason after the 2013 season will be a key one, as the contracts of Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence come off the board. It also leaves the Giants with three big holes in their lineup to fill, if they choose not to re-sign any or all of those players.
The Giants now have almost $90 million committed to guaranteed contracts for the 2014 seasons. If you add in a fairly light class of arbitration-eligible players and renewed contracts, the Giants could be sitting at $100 million, with a possible $40-$50 million to dedicate to free agent signings and re-signings.
These signings before opening day are becoming a regular occurrence. In the final days leading up to opening day in 2012, the Giants signed Matt Cain to a six-year, $127.5 million extension. Two weeks later, they signed Madison Bumgarner to a five-year, $35 million deal.
Here’s the breakdown of Giants with guaranteed contracts (club options included, except Barry Zito’s $18 million option in 2014) year-by-year (source: Baseball Reference):
2014 ($89.5 million, 10 players): Posey ($10.5m), Cain ($20m), Angel Pagan ($10.25m), Bumgarner ($3.75m), Jeremy Affeldt ($6m), Marco Scutaro ($6.67m), Pablo Sandoval ($8.25m), Barry Zito ($7m-buyout), Santiago Casilla ($4.5m), Sergio Romo ($5.5m), Ryan Vogelsong ($6.5m-option). Arbitration: Jose Mijares, Gregor Blanco, Joaquin Arias, Tony Abreu, Dan Runzler. Free agents: Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, Javier Lopez, Andres Torres, Chad Gaudin.
2015 ($71.2 million, 7 players): Cain ($20m), Posey ($16.5m), Pagan ($10.25m), Bumgarner ($6.75m), Affeldt ($6m), Scutaro ($6.67m), Casilla ($5m). Arbitration: Blanco, Arias, Abreu, Runzler, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Hector Sanchez, Eric Surkamp. Free agents: Sandoval, Romo, Vogelsong, Mijares.
2016 ($62.4 million, 4 players): Posey ($21.4m), Cain ($20m), Pagan ($11.25m), Bumgarner ($9.75). Arbitration: Blanco, Abreu, Belt, Crawford, Sanchez, Surkamp, Brett Pill, George Kontos, Sandy Rosario, Francisco Peguero, Jean Machi. Free agents: Casilla, Affeldt, Scutaro, Arias.
2017 ($52.9 million, 3 players): Posey ($21.4m), Cain ($20m), Bumgarner ($11.5m). Arbitration: Belt, Crawford, Sanchez, Surkamp, Pill, Rosario, Peguero, Machi. Free agents: Pagan; Blanco; Abreu, Runzler.
2018 ($54.4 million, 3 players): Posey ($21.4m), Cain ($21m-option), Bumgarner ($12m-option). Arbitration: Pill, Rosario, Peguero, Machi Free agents: Belt, Crawford, Sanchez, Surkamp.
2019 ($33.4 million, 2 players): Posey ($21.4m), Bumgarner ($12m-option). Free agents: Cain, Pill, Rosario, Peguero, Machi.
2020 ($21.4 million): Posey ($21.4m). Free agent: Bumgarner.
2021 ($21.4 million): Posey ($21.4m)
2022 ($22 million): Posey ($22m-option)
OK, this much we know: Buster Posey will remain a San Francisco Giant through the 2021 season — at least — and that’s a good thing.
In the two years in which Buster Posey has manage to finish the season on the field, the Giants have won two world championships. In the previous 56 seasons in which Posey was not on the field as season’s end for Giants, they have won zero titles.
How can you put a price tag on that? Well, the Giants tried to Friday, when the signed the 2012 National League MVP to an extension. The exact amount, well, we aren’t quite sure. It could be $161 million or $167 million or $189 million or something completely different.
Here are what the different media outlets are reporting:
Chris Haft of SFGiants.com is calling it an eight-year, $167 million extension. From what we can tell, this is inaccurate. The extension is for eight years on top of the one year he was already signed for, with a total value on the nine years at $167 million.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported the deal as an eight-year extension for $161 million. That extension on top of the $8 million he was due to make this season, it takes the total value to $167 million. Wait! What? I’ve never been good at math, so I’ll need to check with my 8-year-old son when he gets home, but I always thought 161 + 8 = 169.
CSNBayArea.com got a little closer to the right number by saying Posey will be paid $167 million over the next nine season.
But the San Jose Mercury News wins the prize for the most accurate reporting, although it took them about an hour to get it right. Here’s the breakdown (and the numbers add up).
- Signing bonus: $7 million
- 2013 – $ 3 million (the one-year deal for $8 million Posey signed during the arbitration process gets ripped up).
- 2014 – $ 10.5 million
- 2015 — $16.5 million
- 2016 — $20 million
- 2017 — $21.4 million
- 2018 — $21.4 million
- 2019 — $21.4 million
- 2020 — $21.4 million
- 2021 — $21.4 million
- 2022 — $22 million option, $3 million buyout
So if the option is picked up, the deal would be worth $189 million over the next 10 years. Posey will average $18.56 million a season over the next nine years, $18.9 over 10 if the option is picked up in his age 35 season. Posey just celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday. Happy Birthday, Buster.
When you consider that the Giants will pay Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum about $20 million each this season, it makes this season look like a great deal.
It also makes it look fairly evident that Posey’s days as a full-time catcher are limited.
A couple of years ago, my daughter and I were in the Giants Store at AT&T Park, and she asks me “What’s up with the panda hat.”
I explained how one of the Giants’ most popular players was nicknamed Kung Fu Panda. She responded: “Oh, then I need to get one of these.”
And thus began a whole line of novelty Giants memorabilia items dedicated to Giants players: Wilson beards, Lincecum wigs (now collector’s items), Baby Giraffes, White Sharks, Melkmen, and on and on.
It meant that the Giants opened camp with three open reserve jobs to be won during spring training.
For one of those three spots, a victor was proclaimed on Tuesday when the Giants purchased Chad Gaudin‘s contract and added him to the 40-man roster. The Giants had to make the move Tuesday under new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
If you found yourself concerned after watching Tim Lincecum pitch on Saturday, you weren’t alone.
But don’t count Lincecum or manager Bruce Bochy among the worrisome watchers.
Bochy and The Freak kept their comments and outlook positive after Saturday’s outing against the Oakland A’s. But if you watched the game, those comments sort of felt like putting lipstick on a pig.
“I had some good moments and some bad ones,” Lincecum said. “I still need to try to get my pitch count up. But I am not finishing guys off. I had a good fastball, but it all goes back to location. It’s all a matter of repeating my mechanics.”
The bottom line: Lincecum gave up five runs and six hits and three walks in three-plus innings.
Well, that was one option we had not considered.
The battle — if you want to call it that — for the final reserve infielder spot for the San Francisco Giants took an interesting turn on Friday morning.
The Giants released veteran infielder Wilson Valdez, who was previously thought to have the inside track of landing the job, if only by default. But Valdez hit only .194 this spring with spotty defense.
“It’s just respect for a veteran player who wasn’t going to make our club,” Giants VP Bobby Evans Evans said. “Let him go out and find another opportunity.”
The news was surprising because the Giants reassigned Kensuke Tanaka, the only other healthy candidate for the job, to Fresno on Thursday. Tony Abreu remains hurt and only has had two spring ABs, although Evans said Abreu is close to returning and wouldn’t need as much time to get ready for the season, as a reserve infielder.
But with Friday’s move, it opens the door again for Nick Noonan, who was optioned to Triple-A on March 15. Noonan was hitting .186 in 18 games before being sent down. However, he only struck out once in 43 at-bats and played the best defense of any of the middle infield candidates. Noonan played shortstop, third base and second base last season for Fresno.
Noonan, 23, was a first-round sandwich pick (32nd overall) in 2007 draft out of Parker High in San Diego. He was a Baseball America Rookie All-Star in 2007 after hitting .316 in 52 games for the Giants’ Arizona Rookie League team.
Then his career headed on a downward track. He hit .279 for low-Class A Augusta in 2008, .259 for high-Class A San Jose in 2009, .237 for Double-A Richmond in 2010 and .229 between San Jose, Richmond and Triple-A Fresno in 2011.
But he had his best season as a pro for Fresno last season, hitting .296 with a .347 OBP, nine home runs and 62 RBI, earning him a spot on the 40-man roster.
The Giants must have liked what the saw in Noonan after going to minor-league camp to make this move and give him a shot of being on the roster on April 1. Evans also said the Giants would consider options via a trade or waiver wire. But for now, Noonan moves to the forefront.
“We’ll continue to get a look at him,” Evans said of Noonan. “It does bode well for him if Abreu can’t get healthy.”
Friday’s move also bodes well for Cole Gillespie. With Noonan and Abreu both on the 40-man roster, the Giants now don’t have to create a spot for Gillespie if they decide to give him the reserve outfielder job over Francisco Peguero.
The Giants have two open spots on their 40-man roster and can create a third by placing pitcher Eric Surkamp on the 60-day DL. Now those three spots could potentially go to reliever Chad Gauin, catcher Guillermo Quiroz and Gillespie.
Also Friday, the Giants released reliever Ramon Ramirez in a less-surprising move.
Another round of cuts Thursday brought the Giants’ opening day roster into focus a bit more.
The Giants sent catchers Jackson Williams and Johnny Monell to minor-league camp, leaving Guillermo Quiroz as the only healthy back-up to Buster Posey. Hector Sanchez is still nursing a sore shoulder and cannot throw or hit left-handed. He took some swings right-handed this week, and hopes to test out his shoulder more this weekend.
But if he has to open the season on the DL, it’s Quiroz who will make the 25-man roster.
The Giants also sent Japanese infielder Kensuke Tanaka to minor league camp. Tanaka has struggled at the plate and in the field this spring.
With injured Tony Abreu limited to two spring ABs and with no sign as to when he’ll be ready to play, it leaves the final reserve infield spot to veteran Wilson Valdez.
Not that Valdez got a resounding vote of confidence from manager Bruce Bochy on Thursday.
“Well, he’s getting playing time,” Bochy said of Valdez. “We’ve been moving him around. He’s still here.”
The Giants will continue to check the waiver wire or try for a possible trade, if a better option shows up. However, word has it that they are not interested in Chone Figgins, who was released by the Marlins earlier this week.
The Giants currently have 38 players on their 40-man roster, so there would be room to add non-roster players Quiroz and Valdez. But another non-roster invitee, Chad Gaudin, is the frontrunner to secure the final spot in the bullpen.
To add Gaudin to the 40-man roster, the Giants would have to create room. That could be accomplished by sending pitcher Eric Surkamp to the 60-day disabled list. Surkamp is working his way back from Tommy John surgery last summer, and isn’t expected to be game-ready until July.
But there’s another wrinkle. Cole Gillespie and Francisco Peguero are battling it out for the final reserve outfielder job. Peguero is on the 40-man roster; Gillespie is not.
So one option is to put Peguero on the 25-man roster and send Gillespie to Fresno. But the Giants don’t want Peguero to simply sit on the bench in San Francisco when he could be getting at-bats at Fresno and developing his game.
But if it’s a short-term situation, it might not be so bad. Remember Brett Pill also is on the 40-man roster. He recently had his knee scoped, but he’s apparently itching to get out of the training room and back in the cage. If Pill’s return date is on the shorter end of his 2-to-4 week projected hiatus, he could be ready to be activated by mid-April. And that wouldn’t be too long for Peguero to sit on the bench.
But if the Giants opt for Gillespie, then someone will have to be removed from the 40-man roster. But who? Here are a couple of prime candidates:
- Abreu. While the Giants would prefer to put Abreu on the 15-day DL, send him to Fresno to rehab so they can get a look at what they’ve got, sending him through waivers wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. He’s been hurt and hasn’t been able to show anyone anything. So the odds are good that no other team will claim him, allowing the Giants to outright him to Fresno. But even if a team claims him, I don’t think the Giants would be terribly heartbroken. They seem a bit frustrated that he hasn’t done more to get himself ready to play.
- P Jean Machi. There isn’t a lot of demand for 31-year-old, 260-pound(ish), right-handed journeyman relievers these days. And with the young arms the Giants have, exposing Machi to waivers wouldn’t be a terrible risk. He’s been OK, this spring with a 3.38 ERA with seven strikeouts and two walks in eight innings. but his only big-league experience in his 10-year pro career was eight appearances with the Giants last year.
Fresh off two solid starts in the World Baseball Classic, Ryan Vogelsong was back on the mound Wednesday for the San Francisco Giants.
And he appeared in midseason form.
Vogelsong threw six shutout innings, giving up just three hits and striking out seven in what would eventually be a 0-0 10-inning tie with the Milwaukee Brewers. Vogelsong threw 60 of his 82 pitches for strikes.
“I try to treat them all the same, honestly,” he said. “I know how important it is to make sure you’re ready to go when the bell rings.”
Vogelsong said he even had chicken enchiladas on Tuesday night, just like he does during the regular season.
Vogelsong’s outing was just the latest in a span of solid outings for Giants’ starting pitchers. Just look at the last time through the rotation this spring.
- March 15 vs. Rangers — Matt Cain 5 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K
- March 16 vs. Reds — Madison Bumgarner 5 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- March 17 vs. Rockies — Tim Lincecum 4 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 1 K
- March 19 vs. Padres — Barry Zito 5 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 K
- March 20 vs. Brewers — Vogelsong 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K
And now the rotation appears set through the rest of the spring, with all five starters getting two more spring starts before the opener on April 1.
- Thursday, Cain vs. Rockies
- Friday, Bumgarner vs. Rockies
- Saturday, Lincecum vs. A’s
- Sunday, Zito vs. Angels
- Monday, Vogelsong vs. Cubs
- Tuesday, Cain vs. Padres
- Wednesday, Bumgarner vs. Diamondbacks in Arizona finale
- March 28, Lincecum vs. A’s at AT&T Park
- March 29, Zito vs. A’s at AT&T Park
- March 30, Vogelsong vs. A’s at Oakland
- March 31, idle
- April 1, season opener in Los Angeles
Are you getting fired up yet?
The 2013 season sits at T-12 days and counting.
So with Monday’s off day from spring training games, we thought it would be a good time to look at our projected 25-man opening day roster, if the season were to open right now.
Not much drama here. This crew each made at least 30 starts last year. But if one of these five needs a DL stint, topping the list of fill-in pitchers from Triple-A would be Chris Heston, Michael Kickham or Yusmeiro Petit, who cleared waivers last weekend and accepted a Triple-A assignment.
- RH Sergio Romo
- RH Santiago Casilla
- RH George Kontos
- RH Chad Gaudin
- LH Jeremy Affeldt
- LH Javier Lopez
- LH Dan Runzler (injury replacement for Jose Mijares)
With Petit being sent to Fresno and Scott Proctor continuing to struggle, Gaudin becomes a slam dunk to lock down the final bullpen job and serve as a long man/spot starter. Mijares has been sidelined with an elbow impingment since Feb. 28. He threw off flat ground a week ago with no problems, then left camp for nearly a week to attend to a personal matter in his native Venezuela. That leaves the lefty way behind in his spring preparations, meaning it’s very likely he’ll open the season on the DL. Runzler has impressed the Giants this spring, and is the clear favorite to fill Mijares’ spot.
Sanchez has been battling calf and shoulder ailments this spring. It’s the shoulder that has him sidelined right. The Giants are hoping that a few days of rest and treatment will do the trick. But until he tries to get back on the field later this week, they won’t know. If he can come back and play this week, there’s still time for him to be ready for the opener. But as this list is based on the notion of the season opening right now, we’ve got to put Hector on the DL. Quiroz appears to be the most experienced and dependable replacement option in camp. Jackson Williams lacks big-league experience and it doesn’t help that he’s hitting .190 this spring. Johnny Monell has impressed with the bat (9 for 18), but he hasn’t seen enough time behind the plate to be considered an option.
- 1B Brandon Belt
- 2B Marco Scutaro
- SS Brandon Crawford
- 3B Pablo Sandoval
- IF Joaquin Arias
- IF Wilson Valdez
Sandoval is battling an elbow problem. The Giants will give him a couple days for it to calm down, and they don’t expect it to be a big problem. So at this point, we’ll keep the Panda active. The batte for the last reserve infield spot hasn’t been much of a battle, meaning Valdez wins it by default. Kensuke Tanaka leads the Giants in errors while hitting .233. And injuries have limited Tony Abreu to two ABs this spring. Look for the Giants to check the waiver wire for another potential option.
I know, I know. Francisco Peguero has been tearing it up this spring. But a couple of things from Sunday’s games leads us to believe if Bruce Bochy had to make a call today, he’d go with Gillespie. For one, Gillespie belted a game-winning, three-run homer on Sunday. And then there was this quote from Bochy: “Cole’s got a knack for hitting left-handers.” When you’re the last guy on the 25-man roster, being a good situational player is a plus. Now power isn’t a big part of Gillespie’s game. But occassional pop is better than no pop when you’re serving as a bench player. Gillespie has 80 HRs in 772 minor-league ABs. Peguero has 32 HRs in 614 minor-league ABs. Gillespie came out of the gate this spring hot, but then cooled off. But he’s picked up a bit recently and has a .306 spring average. Yes, that’s not as good as Peguero’s .385, but you get a different picture when you compare on-base percentages. Peguero’s is .400 (dude don’t like to walk); Gillespie’s is .390. Peguero does make better contact (5 Ks in 39 ABs) than Gillespie (10 Ks in 36 ABs). Bochy said this one is going down to the wire. But if he had to pick right now, we’d think he’d go with Gillespie.