Giants

Giants roster reflects youth over loyalty

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Giants roster reflects youth over loyalty

SAN FRANCISCO -- Proving if nothing else that they are not prisoners of a run-deficient status quo, the Giants churned up their Opening Day roster Wednesday.

Stuck with a conundrum at first base between Aubrey Huff, Brandon Belt and Brett Pill, they kept all three. Looking for a cushion for Buster Posey, they dropped Eli Whiteside (who was optioned) and Chris Stewart (who was traded to the Yankees for pitcher George Kontos) and made a place for Hector Sanchez. Trying to remake their outfield, they finished with Gregor Blanco.

They also promoted Dan Otero to their bullpen, though that is mostly pro forma until Ryan Vogelsong returns.

Then again, it wasnt the pitching that needed the makeover.

Still, eight of their 13 everyday players were playing every day somewhere else last April, which is an impressive remodel for a team that won 86 games a year ago.

The problem, though, was that based on their run differential in 2011, they were lucky to have won those last six, and everyone who pays attention to baseball knew it. In other words, overachieving with no offense pays off just as poorly as not.

The decisions made Wednesday means that only Posey, Huff, Nate Schierholtz and Emmanuel Burriss are everyday players with 2010 World Series rings. There would be a fifth if Freddy Sanchez were healthy, but that is so yesterdays news.

Thus, the allegedly conservative Brian Sabean shows that he has overcome his one instance of romantic loyalty, and the stereotypically age-bound Bruce Bochy now has 13 players whose average age is a shade over 27.

In short, if the Giants are any kind of team at all, they are a team in flux, and they are because a team with 590 runs on their resume has to be. Wednesday was not the day it all blew up, but it was the day they committed to a new broom.

Sanchez made it because he had the best spring of the three backup catchers, so much so that he overcame Whitesides reputation as a handler of pitcher and Stewarts arm. Belt made it because he hit too well in Arizona not to, and Pill made it because Ryan Theriot could not be the right-handed bench power alone. Blanco made it despite Huff being moved to the outfield.

And they all made it because 2010 is a million years ago.

There is still the question of whether this roster will work better than the one last year although the Galactic Overlord is the only one who could imagine how it could be worse but it is considerably different, which means that Sabean and Bochy were as sick of looking at last year as the rest of you.

And if you are prone to self-absorption, you can pretend that they listened to you specifically. Nice work, Miscellaneous Giants Fans. Your incessant whining paid off . . . kind of. Maybe. Youll know for sure in 162 games.

But if you didnt whine for the right people, you could be just as gone as Cody Ross or Chris Stewart. So watch yourselves.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

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MiLB/Sacramento River Cats

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

Every time the Journey song “Lights” plays throughout AT&T Park, the lyrics When the lights go down in the City ring too true for the Giants’ offense. There’s a power outage in San Francisco. 

The savior to this issue can soon be prospect Chris Shaw, who turns 24 years old on Oct. 20. Shaw, along with five other Giants prospects, is continuing his 2017 season among a multitude of baseball’s best young up-and-comers in the Arizona Fall League. As he takes the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Shaw’s bat is far from the top focus for the Giants. 

After playing right and left field at Boston College, the Giants turned Shaw into a first baseman once they selected the 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty in 2015. This year, the Giants’ front office decided to make a change. As the big league team continued to look for their own answers, Shaw saw himself in left field in 94 of the 125 games he played between Double-A and Triple-A this season. 

“I saw improvements through the course of the year,” Brian Sabean said about Shaw’s outfield defense on The Giants Insider Podcast. “The problem is playing left field in our left field isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.” 

The AFL is all about reps in left field for Shaw as the Giants have already said he will get a long look in spring training. He earned that right after a breakout year at the plate.

One week into the AFL though, Shaw’s bat is way behind. Through four games, Shaw is batting a pedestrian .133 (2-for-15), both hits being singles. But even in such a slow start there are positives. 

Shaw has walked three times to only two strikeouts. His only downfall at the plate once he reached Triple-A Sacramento was his on-base percentage fell from .390 in Double-A to .328 at the higher level. With the River Cats, Shaw struck out 106 times, leading the team, while taking his base 20 times.

One week in the desert, Shaw is showing more patience and putting the ball into play more often. The ball simply isn’t finding grass.

In the outfield, every ball Shaw sees -- practice or game -- during the AFL is a step in the right direction for he and the Giants. He is yet to make an error in his short time at the AFL. The big lefty will never be a guy to make the spectacular play, but if he improves his instincts with the glove and improves his eye at the plate, the Giants can finally have their left fielder of the future. 

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

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USATSI

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.