While the 2020 baseball season will not begin for another week or so when pitchers and catchers report, there are still quite a few notes and tidbits for the San Francisco Giants heading into Spring Training.
Gabe Kapler Interview
In an interview with John Shea, Gabe Kapler made it clear that the one through four starting rotation spots are mostly set, with Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Drew Smyly, and Kevin Gausman locking up rotation spots. It was also notable that Kapler used Shaun Anderson as one of the players that will be competing for the final rotation spot. Anderson has largely been thought of as a reliever after moving to the bullpen towards the end of 2019.
Another notable statement from Kapler was that Pablo Sandoval is unlikely to be ready by Opening Day. While that isn’t necessarily a shock, considering Sandoval had Tommy John surgery in September, Kapler emphasized the “Panda’s” ability and leadership as key reasons why he was brought back for 2020.
Furthermore, Kapler made it clear that Mauricio Dubon is NOT guaranteed to start at 2nd base or anywhere in 2020. Though one would have to believe that it would be difficult to keep one of the readiest prospects the Giants have off the roster.
Farhan Zaidi made it clear the Giants were going to add to their outfield mix before Spring Training opened in an interview with John Shea. What few could have predicted is the recent interest in Hunter Pence. Yet Jon Heyman notes that the Giants were one of several teams interested in Pence’s services for the 2020 season.
The Giants know Pence well as he spent the ’12 to ’18 seasons as the Giants’ primary right fielder and was a key cog in the franchises two World Series Championships during that time. Pence had seen a steep drop off in production prior to the 2019 season where he then revitalized his career with a .297/.358/.552 line playing for the Texas Rangers. The Giants are in sore need of a right-handed outfielder with pop and Hunter Pence fits that description. The familiarity and clubhouse influence are just a few more reasons the move would fit the Giants nicely.
Other Hot Stove Notes
The San Francisco Giants did add to their outfield, with the addition of Brandon Guyer on a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Brandon Guyer didn’t play in the big leagues in 2019. However, in 2018 he slashed .233/.358/.447 against lefties with a .353 wOBA but massively struggled with right-handed pitching. If Guyer cracks the roster, it will be as a righty outfielder who can be an above-average hitter against lefties.
The Giants added to their bullpen by signing Nick Vincent to a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Vincent began 2019 with the Giants before he was released mid-May and latched on with the Phillies. He finished 2019 with a 4.43 ERA/4.51 FIP/4.19 xFIP but was much better with the Phillies. Vincent pitched to a 1.93 ERA/2.79 FIP/3.56 xFIP while in Philadelphia. While those numbers are likely unsustainable, they are encouraging as the Giants look to round out their bullpen.
Amongst other Giants’ notes, they did also sign Wilmer Flores to a multi-year deal earlier this week. The two-year deal is worth $6 million guaranteed with an option for a third year. Look out soon for a more in-depth article on the addition of Wilmer Flores.
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