2. A “fundamentally different” roster
Team president Farhan Zaidi told Kerry Crowley of The Mercury News that the current roster is “fundamentally different” from what it was earlier in the season.
He’s not wrong.
Here was the San Francisco Giants starting lineup on Opening Day:
CF Steven Duggar
1B Brandon Belt
3B Evan Longoria
C Buster Posey
SS Brandon Crawford
LF Connor Joe
RF Michael Reed
2B Joe Panik
SP Madison Bumgarner
To give you the full effect, the first bats off the bench were Gerardo Parra and Yangervis Solarte.
Steven Duggar was unequivocally the best outfielder in that starting lineup. Today, he’s not good enough to be on the big league roster. Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski, Kevin Pillar, and even Tyler Austin are superior offensive players to every outfielder on that Opening Day roster.
Three-fifths of the Opening Day starting rotation has also changed. Rookies Shaun Anderson, Tyler Beede, and Conner Menez have supplanted Derek Holland, Drew Pomeranz, and Dereck Rodriguez.
I’ve argued the team’s depth is the reason they should sell, but there’s a case to be made that it’s their greatest asset toward reaching the playoffs.
No other team in the wild-card race has the depth in the starting rotation or bullpen that the Giants do.