The SF Giants have a roster that is largely settled. Few players within the current group have minor league options and there are not many 40-man roster players who are on the roster bubble at the moment. That said, there are still a couple of camp questions to answer.
Top 3 SF Giants questions that need to be answered in spring training
The Giants finished last season with an 81-81 record and a +19 run differential. Despite all of the things that went wrong last year, the Giants fielded a competitive team and a case could be made that they should have won a few more games.
A better bullpen and playing fewer players out of position likely would have moved the Giants closer to the playoff discussion. The Giants addressed the bullpen by adding former All-Star reliever Taylor Rogers to a three-year, $33 million deal.
On top of this, they added Luke Jackson, who is expected to begin the year on the injured list, and they hope that a full year of Scott Alexander and Thomas Szapucki will pay dividends. We made the case that Szapucki could be an X factor in the bullpen given his strong finish and that he is light on experience.
San Francisco addressed some defensive issues. The addition of Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto moved Joc Pederson into a DH-only role. The outfield defense should be improved but the infield defense still has some issues.
The lineup was not a glaring issue last year, but the signings of Haniger and Conforto will be welcomed additions nonetheless. The lineup should have some length to it. Lastly, the starting rotation has depth and should continue to be a solid unit. There are some questions that remain in the rotation.
1. Who is the No. 5 pitcher in the SF Giants starting rotation?
Assuming health, the Giants should begin the season with a top of the rotation that features Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, and Ross Stripling. On paper, this is not necessarily the best trio in baseball, but it is one that should be quietly productive.
What the Giants do after that is anyone's guess at this point. San Francisco has Sean Manaea, Alex Wood, and Anthony DeSclafani under contract as well. DeSclafani only made five starts last year after before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, whereas Wood missed the final month of the season with a shoulder ailment.
Manaea is coming off of a down season as he posted a 4.96 ERA in 30 outings for the San Diego Padres. However, the left-handed hurler is a relatively durable arm as he had made at least 25 appearances in five of six full seasons. Plus, he has finished with below a 4.00 ERA in three seasons, excluding the 2019 season where he made only five starts.
Of course, Kyle Harrison could enter the rotation early in the year if he continues this upward trajectory. The top pitching prospect excelled in Double-A last season and should graduate to Triple-A to start the year. Plus, he is already making a positive impression in Scottsdale, Arizona.
San Francisco has been tight-lipped about DeSclafani's recovery from surgery, but it sounds like it is possible that he could have workload restrictions in 2023 given that he missed most of last season. Similarly, Wood might be better-suited for the bullpen at this point in his career.
It feels like one of DeSsclafani or Wood will have a spot in the rotation out of camp. The other could begin the season on the injured list. That leaves Manaea as potentially the No. 5 starter.