The SF Giants have come a long way over the past couple of seasons. Yet even as the franchise appears on the upswing, the big-league roster remains far removed from true championship contention. Many fans are as excited for the upcoming minor-league season as they are for Giants games.
Of course, prospects are only half of the equation. The Giants have significant payroll flexibility in the coming years and are expected to be major players in next year’s free-agent frenzy. It will be pivotal that San Francisco brings the right veterans into the fold to complement their prospect talent. What could that look like on Opening Day in 2023?
SF Giants Opening Day bench in 2023:
Catcher: Chadwick Tromp
4th outfielder: Mauricio Dubón
Utility Infielder: Tommy La Stella
Corner Bat: Jason Vosler
Mauricio Dubón may currently be the primary centerfielder against left-handed hitters, but with a trove of outfield prospects currently in the system, his future is on the bench. His ability to put the ball in play consistently while playing solid defense at shortstop and center field makes him a fantastic swiss-army knife to spell starters and deploy in late-game situations.
The only current infielder under contract beyond 2022, Tommy La Stella figures to play some role on the 2023 roster. However, set to be 35 and far from an elite player, he slots onto the bench nicely alongside Dubón. A solid defender across the infield with a penchant for working walks and putting the ball in play, La Stella could enable the Giants manager to rest their starters consistently without creating a hole in the lineup.
With contact-oriented backups in La Stella and Dubón, the Giants would likely prioritize adding a power-hitting bat to round out the bench. The Giants added corner infielder Jason Vosler this offseason on a major-league contract. Vosler has been quite successful at Triple-A and could hit for power with a decent batting average if it all comes together. Capable of handling the corners defensively, he could offer a little more punch off the bench than La Stella or Dubón. If Vosler fades, prospect Luis Toribio could fit into that role nicely as well.
Most fans envision first-round picks Patrick Bailey and Joey Bart splitting time behind the plate. While that could very well occur down the line, Bailey has yet to make a pro debut and will not be rushed with Bart already in the organization. He very well could be in the mix by the end of 2023, but probably not in time for Opening Day. Instead, Chadwick Tromp, who was solid defensively with decent power in his big-league debut last season, seems like the favorite to be the backup after Buster Posey and Curt Casali become free agents.