Farhan Zaidi happy with Giants' rotation depth after two late additions


Farhan Zaidi happy with Giants' rotation depth after two late additions

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants entered the offseason with decent starting pitching depth, and yet, both significant moves they have made have been for … starting pitchers. 

They’ll report to Scottsdale Stadium next month with six solid options for the rotation, and guys like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach — both of whom have had some big league success — in the wings. And that’s exactly how Farhan Zaidi wants it. 

Zaidi has been open about his desire to take it easy on Dereck Rodriguez, Andrew Suarez, Stratton and the rest of his younger pitchers early in the season, but he also wants to ease in a veteran. Jeff Samardzija’s throwing program is going according to plan, but Zaidi is preparing for complications, just in case. 

“All indications are that he’s going to be ready for the start of the season, ready for camp, ready to throw in games,” Zaidi said. “As of now, he’s very much on schedule. I think for us, having the injury and the season he did last year, he’s not a guy you can afford to write in for 32, 34 starts. If that happens, great. But as we look at our roster and our pitching, we recognize that there’s still some concern and some risk. You kind of hope for the best, but still plan from a contingent standpoint that if something doesn’t go as hoped, you have some alternatives in place.”

The Giants should be in a pretty good place, and they may not be done yet. Zaidi still could add another depth piece, but even if he doesn’t, he’ll enter the spring feeling set in the rotation.

Madison Bumgarner trade talks have cooled. Derek Holland was a strong mid-rotation option last year and Drew Pomeranz isn’t far removed from being the same. Zaidi would like to slow-play Rodriguez and Suarez, but neither pitcher is the type to accept that, and both will push hard for rotation spots out of camp. Stratton has had some dominant stretches in the past and Zaidi’s Dodgers had success with similar hot-cold types. It’s possible Shaun Anderson, a non-roster invitee, is an option by the time the weather warms up. And beyond all that, Johnny Cueto is planning to be back from Tommy John surgery by September 1. 

[RELATED: Why Giants could check back in on some big MLB free agents]

Of course, Cueto could return to a much different type of rotation. Bumgarner may be the most impactful player available at the deadline, and it’s hard not to look at the Holland and Pomeranz contracts and not view both players as potentially strong trade chips in July. 

Zaidi will deal with that a few months from now. For now, he’s happy with his rotation depth and eager to take advantage of it. 

“It’s not just about the Opening Day roster, but how you get through a 162 game season,” Zaidi said. “That’s where the starting depth has a chance to be valuable, and all these guys are going to have a chance to make plenty of starts for us.”

Watch Giants end skid on perfect relay throw home to beat Pirates

Watch Giants end skid on perfect relay throw home to beat Pirates

What looked like a possible nightmare turned into triumph for the Giants on Sunday. 

With two outs and the Giants leading the Pirates 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, former San Francisco top draft prospect Bryan Reynolds stepped to the plate for Pittsburgh and looked to stay hot against his former franchise.

Reynolds rocketed a line drive down the right-field line off closer Will Smith. The rest was perfection for the Giants and pure ugliness for the Pirates.

Steven Duggar hit second baseman Joe Panik with a perfect relay throw as the Pirates' Jung Ho Kang raced around the bases. It's safe to say Kang should have stayed at third. Instead, he was out by a mile while trying to tie up the score, as Panik's throw to catch Buster Posey easily beat him to the plate.

[RELATED: Watch Posey end homer drought with three-run dinger]

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Giants, who are 2-4 on their current road trip. They head to Toronto for two more games away from San Francisco.

Watch Buster Posey end homer drought with three-run dinger vs. Pirates

Watch Buster Posey end homer drought with three-run dinger vs. Pirates

Welcome back to the Home Run Club, Buster Posey.

Posey hit his first home run of the 2019 season Sunday in Pittsburgh. The deep fly to dead-center field was a three-run shot that gave the Giants a 3-2 lead over the Pirates in the fifth inning.

According to Statcast, the three-run homer came 107.1 mph off Posey's bat with a 24-degree launch angle, and traveled 409 feet. 

Not only was it the Giants catcher's first homer of 2019, it was his first in 237 at-bats. He last went deep on June 19, 2018, with a solo shot off Dan Straily in a 6-3 win over the Marlins. 

Clearly, Posey was relieved.

With the drought over, Posey has completed a piece of history. The Pirates were the last team he hadn't homered off since entering the league in 2009.

Posey is just the seventh Giant -- including pitcher Madison Bumgarner -- to homer this season.