Logan Webb

Giants' Logan Webb gives bold prediction for Raiders QB Derek Carr

Giants' Logan Webb gives bold prediction for Raiders QB Derek Carr

In what feels like a yearly storyline, many outside of the Raiders' organization seem to have given up on quarterback Derek Carr. Despite improved stats across the board, Carr has his naysayers going into the 2020 season. 

Don't count Giants pitcher Logan Webb among Carr's doubters. He actually has quite the opposite opinion. Webb is ready for Carr to quiet his non-believers and expects a big season for the QB as the Silver and Black move from Oakland to Las Vegas. 

Webb, 23, went out on a limb Wednesday and predicted Carr to win the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award this season. 

Webb grew up in Rocklin as a loyal Raiders fan. That loyalty clearly isn't lost with his favorite football team moving away. As Carr enters his third season under coach Jon Gruden, Webb believes the best is yet to come for the QB despite the Raiders signing former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota to a two-year, $17.6 million contract this offseason.

The Giants selected Webb in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Rocklin High School. He made his major league debut in August last season and finished the year with a 2-3 record and a 5.22 ERA. Before the Giants drafted him, however, Webb was a QB himself. 

[RELATED: Mariota sheds light on his mindset in joining Carr's Raiders]

Between his junior and senior seasons as Rocklin's starting varsity quarterback, Webb threw for 3,767 passing yards, 47 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He also added two more touchdowns on the ground. 

While Webb and the rest of the Giants wait for baseball's return amid the coronavirus pandemic, he's putting his trust in Carr and the Raiders this season.

How Giants were shaping up as original 2020 MLB Opening Day approaches

How Giants were shaping up as original 2020 MLB Opening Day approaches

The Giants would have flown to Los Angeles on Wednesday. At some point, Gabe Kapler would have sat down with a pen and card and created his first lineup as manager, deciding just how heavy he wanted to go with right-handers with Clayton Kershaw ready to dig in on the other side. Perhaps Kapler would have spent a few minutes with pitching coach Andrew Bailey discussing their best option if they had a lead after eight innings. 

Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris would have finalized the roster, picking a 26th man for the first time and making the final decisions in their outfield and bullpen. They would have scoured the waiver wire one more time, looking for recently-designated players they could slide onto the back of the 40-man roster. 

None of that is the reality right now. The Giants don't know when they will play again, how many games they'll get in 2020, or if fans will even be in attendance the first time Johnny Cueto kicks at the dirt and decides to mix in a shimmy or a quick pitch. 

But at some point, the Giants and the rest of MLB will resume, and at some point the focus will turn back to baseball. There will be an Opening Day, it just won't be tomorrow. There will be an Opening Day roster, and much of it was decided before the coronavirus pandemic hit the pause button on spring training. 

It's unlikely that much will change in terms of the roster before all of this resumes, so with the original Opening Day date just a few hours away, let's take a look at how the Giants were shaping up:

Catcher

The last major move made before the end of the spring was the decision to send Joey Bart back to minor league camp. But all along it was Rob Brantly vs. Tyler Heineman in the race to back up Buster Posey. Neither was tearing it up in the Cactus League, and there definitely was a strong chance that another catcher would have been scooped up this week.

Remember, Zaidi added Erik Kratz and Tom Murphy at the end of his first spring with the Giants. 

Infield

You have your locks in Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria and Wilmer Flores, and there was little doubt that Mauricio Dubon was making the team and seeing plenty of time at second, short and center. 

Donovan Solano has an option remaining but he was 8-for-21 in the spring, reminding the staff of how reliable he has become at the plate. Yolmer Sanchez was just 3-for-26, and while this staff certainly won't overreact to a small sample size, he had to be feeling some nerves as the games ticked by. 

With an extra spot, the Giants could have carried Solano and Sanchez, but that won't be possible when they resume if rosters don't expand for position players. Pablo Sandoval will almost certainly be 100 percent cleared by that point and will get a backup spot. 

Outfield

With Dubon showing he can play center, the Giants gained more flexibility in the outfield, and some clarity was gained when they optioned Steven Duggar to Triple-A. 

Mike Yastrzemski, Hunter Pence and Alex Dickerson are the locks, and after that it might have come down to keeping inventory. The Giants want to get a look at Jaylin Davis this season, but they wouldn't mind him getting hot in Triple-A first. Austin Slater is in a tough spot because he can be optioned. 

With Duggar optioned, it would be somewhat risky to go into a season at Oracle Park with Yastrzemski (who didn't play much center last year) and Dubon (a natural infielder) as your main center fielders, so Billy Hamilton looked to be in a good spot. 

The toughest decision might have been with veteran Darin Ruf, who was 12-for-28 with three homers, five doubles and a triple. Ruf was the story of the final days of camp and his right-handed thunder would have been a nice fit on the bench, but it might be tougher to fit him in once Sandoval is back. 

Rotation

This is where the layoff might end up making a decision for the Giants. Their best option behind Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly is 23-year-old Logan Webb, but he was going to be under a workload restriction after throwing just 103 innings last year. With a shortened season, the Giants can more easily put Webb in their rotation to start and just keep him there, and that's probably what they should do. 

The Giants felt pretty good about their depth, with Trevor Cahill, Trevor Oaks and Andrew Suarez throwing well early on. They'll have another option once all of this resumes; Tyler Anderson was ahead of schedule in rehab from knee surgery and he should be ready. 

Bullpen

There was just about complete uncertainty with this group heading into the spring, and it could be even wilder when Spring Training 2.0 kicks off. That's because the expectation within the game is that a shortened season will at least start with expanded rosters. There has been speculation that teams could start with an additional half-dozen pitchers to make up for the lack of ramp-up time before games begin.

So, if you're trying to make final cuts in the bullpen, maybe you end up just keeping them all and even adding a player who has been optioned already -- say, a Shaun Anderson type. 

[RELATED: Pence doesn't think shorter season cheapens World Series]

The layoff will allow Tony Watson to get his shoulder fully healthy, and Trevor Gott was in a good spot behind him. Quietly, Wandy Peralta and Jarlin Garcia had combined for 18 spring strikeouts in 10 scoreless innings, and both lefties should be in a Giants bullpen of any size. 

With an expanded roster and shortened season, there's no reason to not keep Rule 5 pick Dany Jimenez, and young guys like Sam Coonrod and Tyler Rogers don't have to worry as much about being on the bubble. There is more breathing room for veterans like Jerry Blevins and Nick Vincent, too. 

The Giants could fill out their bullpen with guys like Cahill, Oaks, Suarez, Dereck Rodriguez, Tyson Ross and Andrew Triggs, who could all provide valuable innings, especially with the likelihood that teams will play a lot more doubleheaders.

In a weird way, this might put the Giants in a decent spot. Their staff wasn't being built to go head-to-head with opposing starters for seven innings every night, but they certainly have accumulated plenty of guys who can give you 40-50 pitches several times a week.

Assessing Giants' rotation options after Tyler Beede's elbow injury

Assessing Giants' rotation options after Tyler Beede's elbow injury

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants kept adding and adding, long after it seemed they had coverage in their rotation. Farhan Zaidi goes into every season knowing you'll likely need at least twice the five starters you begin the year with, and he kept adding depth to a group that should look quite different come August 1.

The Giants could trade Jeff Samardzija or Johnny Cueto to contenders looking for veteran rotation help. They could deal Kevin Gausman or Drew Smyly if either turns into Drew Pomeranz 2.0. They have been planning for such moves, and so it made sense to add so many potential starters. 

But they also knew that every pitcher is one offering away from the nightmare scenario, and Tyler Beede is dealing with it now. Beede has a flexor strain and elbow sprain in his pitching elbow, and even if a second opinion matches the first one that surgery is not immediately needed, he will miss significant time. When he started researching similar cases on Tuesday night, Beede was drawn to Tampa Bay right-hander Tyler Glasnow, who was sidelined last summer with flexor inflammation. 

Glasnow missed four months and then returned to make shortened starts for a team in the playoff race. Beede is in a slightly different situation even outside of the fact that the injuries are different. He is not yet fully built up, and a layoff would then likely be followed by a few extra weeks of rehab starts to simulate the spring he's now missing. 

The Giants did not want to talk timetables on Wednesday. They know a second opinion might bring worse news, and for now, all they'll say is that Beede will start the season on the Injured List and miss significant time. They'll be without one of their most exciting young players, but also the pitcher who very likely would have opened as the fifth starter. 

A day after Beede went down, manager Gabe Kapler acknowledged what a blow this is for the organization and Beede, but added, "I think it introduces some new exciting competition and I think some guys will embrace it as such."

"I think it reinforces that we're fairly deep," Kapler said of the altered rotation race. "It's not deep with established, veteran players with a lot of success, but deep with starting pitching possibilities. I think we can stay excited about that, that there are guys like Anderson and Suarez and Oaks and Cahill and Ross and Webb, to just name a few. That's not the end of it, but that's some that can be thinking about possibly starting at some point."

The last player mentioned there, Logan Webb, is the obvious answer. Webb and Beede are similar in that they showed flashes of what they're capable of last year but certainly have work to do. The only thing keeping Webb from being a sure thing for the Opening Day lineup is an innings limit after Webb missed much of last season with a suspension, but the Giants could opt to have Webb start the season in the big leagues and then limit his workload in the second half. On talent, he is their best option, and Webb has pitched on a normal schedule this spring and should be ready if he's the choice.

After that, there are two different buckets of players. Shaun Anderson, Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez would lead the pack of younger pitchers who have been in the rotation over the past two years and could slide in again. Then there's the group of veterans with big league experience, which includes Tyson Ross, Trevor Cahill, Trevor Oaks and eventually Tyler Anderson, who is rehabbing from knee surgery but is well ahead of schedule. 

[RELATED: Cueto impressing new manager with attention to detail]

If the Giants don't find stability there, they could borrow an idea from the team Glasnow plays for. This is a coaching staff that likes openers and will deploy them, and the Giants could do that with their fifth slot. 

There are options, as Kapler said. But there's no denying this was a big blow for a team that hoped Beede could start to establish himself as one of the rotation's building blocks.