The San Francisco Giants starting rotation will have a new look going forward, and that could be a sign of things to come for a shifting organization.
The roster shuffling continued for the San Francisco Giants on Saturday with a pair of surprising moves in the starting rotation.
The first came when 2018 rookie phenom Dereck Rodriguez was optioned to the minors.
The 26-year-old has had a rough go of it in his last three starts, posting an 8.31 ERA with more walks (12) than strikeouts (6) over 13 innings of work.
To his credit, he took the most in stride, telling reporters: “I’ll go down there, keep my head up and throw strikes.”
The day’s other move was not as well received.
Veteran left-hander Derek Holland has been moved to the bullpen after he allowed seven hits, four walks and seven earned runs in 2.2 innings on Thursday, raising his season ERA to 6.75.
The 32-year-old had a lot to say after the move was announced.
Nothing like throwing the organization under the bus with claims of a “fake injury” when you’re sporting one of the worst ERAs in baseball.
"Here’s the thing. Teams can’t “fake” injuries. A doctor has to sign a document saying the injury is real and no doc worth his salt is going to risk his license for this. But players are sent to IL all the time with ailments they feel they can play through. They don’t like it because no player wants the rep of being hurt and each IL trip adds to the ledger. But they suck it up. Holland is not the first San Francisco Giants player to be upset about some of the decision-making this year. He just aired it, which is highly irregular. He might wind up in some hot water because “fake injury” is pretty inflammatory. But I’m sure he gained some more credibility in the room. Meanwhile, Zaidi, Bochy and the coaches are just trying to do what they can to compete. It’s an interesting dynamic."
At any rate, Holland is headed to the bullpen, and he’ll be replaced in the rotation by rookie Tyler Beede.
The team has yet to announce who will fill Rodriguez’s spot on the starting staff, and they also need to find a spot starter for Drew Pomeranz who is on the injured list with a lat strain.
Andrew Suarez (5 GS, 5.82 ERA) and Ty Blach (6 GS, 6.14 ERA) are the only candidates on the 40-man roster who would not require a subsequent move, but neither has pitched particularly well.
If the Giants do decide to go outside the 40-man roster, No. 4 prospect Shaun Anderson (7 GS, 4.11 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 37 K, 35.0 IP) is pitching well for Triple-A Richmond and looks ready to make his case for a long-term rotation spot.
The dark horse could be Double-A standout Conner Menez (7 GS, 2.27 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 42 K, 35.2 IP), who at the very least is ready for a bump up to Triple-A.
Regardless of the moves that are made, Saturday’s activity should serve as a clear indication of things to come.
This is not team president Farhan Zaidi’s team. It’s the team he inherited when he took over during the offseason. He’s not going to be afraid to shake up the roster as he continues to reshape the organization.
There are going to be a lot of new faces on this Giants team throughout the season, and there is going to be a lot of activity in the days and weeks leading up to the trade deadline when fans will almost certainly have to come to terms with the departure of Madison Bumgarner and others.
But that’s what goes into rebuilding a struggling franchise from the ground up and that’s what fans and players alike need to expect going forward. Zaidi would be doing the San Francisco Giants a disservice if he didn’t approach things this way.