Slick-fielding third baseman among trio of players optioned by SF Giants

2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training
2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants are inching closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster. They optioned a trio of players to Triple-A including Otto López, Casey Schmitt, and David Villar, per the team's transaction log.

Slick-fielding third baseman among trio of players optioned by SF Giants

In addition to that, Chase Pinder, Spencer Bivens, and Cody Stashak were reassigned to minor league camp. The end result is the same even if the phrasing is different. Three players were optioned because they occupy spots on the 40-man roster and the other three were reassigned due to being non-roster invitees.

There were no surprises with these cuts. Both Schmitt and Villar did not have clear paths for playing time with Matt Chapman now on the roster, so it makes sense to send them to Triple-A. On the other hand, sending down López likely means that Tyler Fitzgerlad has the inside track for the utility role. That said, the Giants could continue to monitor the trade market to see if there is a better fit.

Before being optioned, Villar was having a strong spring. He tallied 12 hits, including three home runs, in 39 at-bats with six RBI. However, he is blocked at third base by both Schmitt and Chapman. Villar did start to see some playing time at second base last season, so that could be one avenue for playing time.

Unlike Villar, Schmitt performed poorly in the Cactus League with just three hits in 26 at-bats. He did work five walks and it felt like he was making an intentional effort to be more selective at the plate. That will need to improve for him to become an everyday player.

Lastly, the speedy López tallied five hits in 21 at-bats this spring. He does not offer much power upside, but he grinds out at-bats, has excellent contact skills, and plays hard. He covers several positions like second base, shortstop, and center field. The Giants will likely leverage his versatility at some point in 2024.

Spencer Bivens received a late invite to spring training after he impressed the coaching staff. He allowed five earned runs with seven strikeouts against one walk across nine frames. Cody Stashak yielded six earned runs in 7.1 innings, whereas Chase Pinder collected seven hits in 17 at-bats.