Breaking down Giants' spring training camp competitions as games begin

Breaking down Giants' spring training camp competitions as games begin

SAN FRANCISCO -- There's a whiteboard behind Giants manager Bruce Bochy's desk at Scottsdale Stadium with magnetic name cards for each player in big league camp. It gets put together early on, but Bochy has learned this year that he has to shift the names around on a seemingly daily basis. 

New president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi's first Giants camp has been a busy one. Just in the last 48 hours, the Giants signed veteran reliever Nick Vincent to a minor league deal and claimed infielder Hanser Alberto from the Orioles.

Alberto was designated for assignment when the Orioles claimed Josh Osich, who was DFA'd when the Giants claimed Jose Lopez. To clear a roster spot for Alberto, the Giants DFA'd Jake Barrett, who was picked up earlier this month. 

Got it all?

There will not be a quiz, and most of these moves are just to pad the last page of the 40-man roster. But other moves have made camp competitions more interesting. Before the Giants play their first Cactus League game, here's a look at where some of the competitions stand.

Backup catcher

Aramis Garcia has been one of the most impressive hitters in camp, and Zaidi said his power has been a revelation. But Garcia has options remaining, so a long look will be given to Rene Rivera, Cameron Rupp and Stephen Vogt, who is still a bit limited as he comes back from a shoulder injury. 

If Vogt gets healthy, he seems the favorite, but Bochy has also said he may carry three catchers early on. Garcia has been playing some first in camp and Vogt has taken fly balls in left. 

Backup infielders

A month ago, Pablo Sandoval and Alen Hanson seemed locks. It's a lot more complicated with Yangervis Solarte in camp. The Giants are already talking about how Solarte may get 300-400 at-bats playing different positions. Hanson could be the one who needs a big month, and he's out of options. 

The outfield

I mean, who knows. Mac Williamson is out of options and has an early hold on a job, but he'll need to have a good March for a second straight year. Gerardo Parra and Cameron Maybin were added last week, and both have the inside track on jobs. That's not good news for players like Austin Slater and Chris Shaw, who have options remaining. 

The wild card here is Steven Duggar. He won't play until March 1 as he comes off shoulder surgery, and while the Giants have said he could be their leadoff hitter at some point, they also have not guaranteed that he'll be on the Opening Day roster. Duggar has options remaining, and if Drew Ferguson has a big spring, this could get tricky. He's a Rule 5 pick so the Giants would have to offer him back to the Astros if he doesn't make the team. 

The rotation

On Friday, Bochy was asked if the bullpen is the toughest competition. He said it's actually the rotation. 

"The starting situation, we have seven starters, so we have to get this down before we break camp," he said. 

Madison Bumgarner will start Opening Day and Jeff Samardzija is healthy and on track. He'll start a Cactus League game next week. Drew Pomeranz and Derek Holland were brought in to be in the rotation. That leaves Dereck Rodriguez, Andrew Suarez and Chris Stratton. Options may matter, and Stratton is out.

From here, though, it looks like Rodriguez has the leg up on that final spot.

[RELATED: Zaidi happy with Giants' starting rotation depth]

The bullpen

The Giants have approximately 72 options for their bullpen, and barring a trade, not much space. But Zaidi has already said they’ll carry three lefties, so there should be a good battle for the spot alongside Will Smith and Tony Watson.

Travis Bergen, the Rule 5 pick, is a player to watch. The staff loves him and he impressed during live BP. The Giants have to have him on their Opening Day roster or else they have to offer him back to the Blue Jays. 

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Gabe Kapler had his introductory press conference as the Giants' new manager, and he's chosen his uniform number as well.

The skipper has chosen No. 19 to sport this season, which means young infielder Mauricio Dubon will have to choose a new number -- and he needs your help.

He recently took to Twitter and asked what number he should wear now that he has to make the switch: 

No. 21 appeared to stand out from a Milwaukee Brewer's fan account, since Honduras became a country in 1821. Dubon was born in Honduras in 1994 (sorry to make you guys feel old).

[RELATED: Dubon gets engaged at Disneyland Paris]

Five-time All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent also sported the number with San Francisco.

We shall see ... 

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler and Scott Harris both went through the same drill earlier this week, standing near the home dugout at Oracle Park as a team photographer grabbed shots from their first days on the job. Behind the two new members of the brain trust, construction workers continued the work that started last month.

The Giants plan to make an official announcement about the changing dimensions of their ballpark, and the new locations of the bullpen, soon, but those who attended the press conferences this week -- and a TopGolf event the park hosted last week -- got a sneak preview. 

A chunk of the bleacher seats in right center have already been ripped out to make room for the new bullpens, and some seats have also been taken out in left center to accommodate other changes to the ballpark. But team president and CEO Larry Baer said the changes won't be drastic for hitters. 

"Triples Alley will still be Triples Alley, just with some refinements," Baer said. 

The Giants are still figuring out some of the exact details, but they know the bullpens will be side-by-side in center and right center. The kale garden will remain, although it sounds like there will be some changes to the dimensions out there because the center-field wall is coming in about six feet, which should please hitters. 

The deepest part of the park -- the nemesis for Brandon Belt and other left-handed hitters -- is 421 feet and will ultimately be closer to 410 feet when the construction is done, the Giants think. The Giants put a bar underneath the new scoreboard last season and plan to have additional changes, including a terrace, out there this year, continuing a trend around the game -- seen across the bridge in Oakland -- of having more gathering spots for fans. 

[RELATED: What Kapler learned from Phillies tenure]

Even as they held two press conferences last week, the Giants remained coy about their exact plans for the dimensions, but they expect to take out about 400 seats.

Some of those may be made up for in other spots. There is a short wall separating the old bullpens from the first row of seats and about 80 feet of that wall has been taken down on both sides of the park, which would seem to indicate that the Giants are going to add some premium seating in some of that territory.