The San Francisco Giants have added depth to their rotation. However, they have quietly added depth to the shortstop and center field positions as well.
The Giants quickly learned Austin Jackson could no longer handle center field. As a result, Gorkys Hernandez assumed a heavy workload. Behind him, there was Steven Duggar. Though, Duggar needed additional time in Sacramento.
Who was even behind Duggar? That is a question we never had to answer. It may have been Ronnie Jebavy in Richmond. Jebavy is a glove-first outfielder whose bat leaves a bit to be desired.
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Since then, the Giants have jettisoned both Jackson and Hernandez. They have brought in John Andreoli, Mike Gerber, Drew Ferguson, and Henry Ramos. These are not household names by any means. However, each one is capable of playing all 3 outfield positions.
This is not an ideal list. But, the San Francisco Giants have backup options in case Duggar sustains an injury or struggles. Ferguson, in particular, could serve as a right-handed hitting complement to Duggar.
Farhan Zaidi stresses versatility and depth. He has brought in several outfielders who check off both boxes. These were all under-the-radar moves, but the Giants are better prepared for the unexpected.
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In addition to this, the San Francisco Giants have added depth at shortstop. Prior to the 2018 season, the Giants had Brandon Crawford, Kelby Tomlinson, and Chase d’Arnaud who could capably play shortstop. If Crawford sustained an injury, the Giants were woefully under-prepared.
Alen Hanson was a surprise last season. He has experience at shortstop. Though, he still needs to refine his work with the glove.
This offseason, the San Francisco Giants have added Breyvic Valera, Donovan Solano, and Levi Michael. Ryan Howard, C.J. Hinojosa, and Jalen Miller are prospects who are close to carving out a role on the major league roster. Admittedly, Miller is the furthest away from joining the Giants roster.
None of these names jump off the page, but many of them have experience playing shortstop. Valera, Avelino, and Solano are more of the glove-first variety. Each one offers some intrigue with the bat as well.
If Crawford were to sustain an injury, the Giants have the depth to weather a short-term storm. This was not the case in 2017 and 2018.
If the past 2 seasons has taught us anything, it is to anticipate injuries from key players. This is part of having an aging roster. The trick is to have enough depth to mitigate these loses.
Center field and shortstop are two positions where teams cannot compromise defense. The Giants have done this in the recent past, and the results have been disastrous. But, they have brought in a lot of players who can adequately handle key positions. This is part of Zaidi’s philosophy, and added depth should be a factor as the 2019 season gets underway.