The SF Giants and the impending roster crunch

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Victor Decolongon/GettyImages

The SF Giants outrighted a veteran reliever off of the 40-man roster at the end of last week, giving them a total of 39 players currently on the 40-man roster. However, there is still a lot of work to be done.

The SF Giants and the impending roster crunch

The move dropped the number of arbitration-eligible players on the roster from 13 to 12. However, Alex Young and Austin Wynns could potentially become arbitration-eligible as well this winter as Super Two players. I gave my thoughts as to whether they are going to retain all of their remaining arbitration-eligible players.

That will be one area that the Giants will need to address in the offseason, but another roster crunch will take place even before that. Near the end of the season, the Giants were aggressive in using the 60-day injured list to create playing opportunities for new players.

This opened up spots on the 40-man roster so that the Giants could reward a player who had a strong season in Triple-A by selecting their contract. Outfielder Austin Dean and pitcher Andrew Vasquez were a couple of examples of this.

For a team that was seemingly out of contention by the time September rolled around, it was great that they used the final month to give some minor leaguers a look. It may not have been the longest look like the case of Vasquez, who recorded just one appearance in the final game of the season.

However, reliever Shelby Miller made a solid impression with a handful of good outings as well as a bad one. There were a lot of new faces on the Giants in September and this will make for a busy start to the offseason.

The first order of business will be free agency. Four players will become free agents at the start of free agency including Miller, Joc Pederson, José Álvarez, and Brandon Belt. Álvarez and Belt finished the season on the 60-day injured list, so the fact that they are becoming free agents has no bearing on the current 40-man roster.

If we assume (he will) that Carlos Rodón opts out of his contract and the Giants buy out Evan Longoria's $13 million option for $5 million, then that creates two more roster open roster spots. Pederson, Miller, Rodón, and Longoria are then subtracted from the 40-man roster, bringing the current number down from 39 to 35.

This is where it gets tricky. The next moves that the Giants will need to make will be activating all players from the 60-day injured list. There is no 60-day injured list in the offseason, so every player needs to be added back. The Giants finished the season with 10 players on the 60-day injured list, but only eight of them need to be activated because Álvarez and Belt will be declared free agents by then.

So, if you are still following along, the Giants' 40-man roster will stand at 35 when free agency begins, but eight players will need to be activated. A case can certainly be made that they can just place someone like infielder Donovan Walton on waivers to create room.

At this point, there are a lot of variations in terms of what the Giants might do. The back-end of the 40-man roster is not that strong, so there are plenty of reasonable decisions to make like placing a pre-arbitration player like Austin Dean or Luis Ortiz on waivers.

This is all to point out that the Giants should have a very busy start to the offseason in terms of roster landscaping. And, this does not even begin to factor in protecting prospects like Marco Luciano from the Rule 5 draft. That will come in a different article when the date draws nearer. For now, expect a lot of activity at the start of the offseason.