1. If you think a pitcher should (or shouldn’t) be on the roster, wait a day
The Giants regime under Farhan Zaidi has been very straightforward about roster management. Zaidi and co. believe in utilizing the flexibility MLB’s rules allow to the fullest extent. We saw the organization’s willingness to oscillate players between the waiver wire, taxi-squad, minor leagues, and big-league club last season. This was especially true for the pitching staff.
With that said, last season’s roster turnover may seem like child’s play compared to what we see this season. Even if the Giants avoid COVID-19, which could also force major roster turnover, replacing manager Bruce Bochy with Gabe Kapler will encourage more movement. While Bochy and Zaidi appear to have found an amiable balance last year between Bochy’s more old-school philosophy, Kapler showed in his time as the manager for the Philadelphia Phillies that he’s willing to try nearly anything proposed by analytical analysts.
Kapler has also been open that the team is not treating the 60-game season in the same way they’d approach a normal 162-game campaign. While most teams have worked their starters up to 5 or 6-inning outings, Giants starters have been built up for primarily 3-4 inning outings, one player tells Around the Foghorn. Simultaneously, traditional bullpen options are being prepped for multi-inning outings.
While the extreme one pitcher an inning approach the team took in their scrimmages with the Oakland Athletics obviously won’t transfer to the regular season, expect rotation management as you’ve never seen before. It’s worth pointing out that preparing to use more pitchers in 2-4 inning spurts makes sense for a couple of reasons beyond players have shortened prep time. COVID-19 could very likely force any pitcher out of play for a few weeks, relying too heavily on any one player could be a dangerous proposition this season. Plus, the expanded rosters make it even easier for teams to cycle through pitchers and not worry about whether they’ll be needed tomorrow.
The Giants Opening Day roster is filled with a number of players with options remaining. The group of players at Sacramento is still deep with big-league ready arms. Expect optionable players like Conner Menez, Logan Webb, Caleb Baragar, and Shaun Anderson to get optioned at some point when the team wants some fresher arms.