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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.