SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will enter the 2019 season with a "nobody believes in us" mentality. That was made clear throughout the spring, and starter Derek Holland doubled down during the broadcast Monday night.
"Nobody is picking us to do anything," he said. "We're going to definitely make some noise."
That's the way a team should enter the season, but it's also more than fair for fans or the media to question this roster's ability to hang around deep into the season. There were holes the previous two seasons, and not many were filled over the winter.
Here are five big questions for the Giants as they prepare for Opening Day:
1. The outfield
The Giants had mostly regular starters in Monday's lineup, but Connor Joe was in left field and Michael Reed was in right. The thing about those two is that, well, they weren't even Giants a week ago. That's the state of the outfield right now.
Steven Duggar and Gerardo Parra are set, but Mac Williamson may be in limbo after a rough spring and the team is basically holding open auditions in the hours before the opener.
It all could have been so different. The Giants finished second in the race for Bryce Harper, but as this season begins they're exactly where they were at the end of last season: Wondering how they'll get production from the outfield.
2. Will they deal or go for it?
Farhan Zaidi has worked to build depth at all levels, but the easiest way to really add young controllable talent is to trade some big names. Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith and Tony Watson are among those who could bring back a haul before the July 31 deadline, and perhaps veterans like Brandon Belt and Jeff Samardzija will rebuild their trade value in the first half.
But what if the underdogs go out there and stay in the race for four months? If the Giants are within striking distance of a postseason spot, would they still tear down?
With Bumgarner and Smith, there's some urgency. Both will be free agents at the end of the year, so if the Giants manage to rally and make Bruce Bochy's last season competitive, Zaidi will be faced with a difficult decision.
The right move for the future would be to reload the farm system, but that could lead to a disappointing final stretch for a Hall of Fame manager and veteran roster.
3. The outfield
Duggar looks ready to grab the leadoff spot, but he's still a relatively unproven player with development ahead of him. There's no guarantee that he breaks out this season. Parra, the other one locked in, had an OPS+ of 82 last season while playing half his games in Coors Field, and in an ideal world the Giants would have him in a fourth outfielder role.
And those are the two outfielders the Giants feel good about.
The front office might start the season with Joe and Yangervis Solarte, two natural infielders, seeing most the time in left. There's no understating how dire the situation is in the outfield.
Players have made a habit this spring of saying something along the lines of, "When did 30 become old?" While you should see some of these guys bounce back statistically, it's also realistic to expect some injury issues to continue. That's just the reality when you're a few years past that 30th birthday cake.
The Giants stayed remarkably healthy this spring, but at some point that will change and we'll get a true sense of just how much depth they've added. The pitching staff would be fine even with a few key guys on the injured list, but the lineup is stretched thin as is, and extended absences from two or three regulars would lead to the same offensive issues that derailed the 2018 Giants.
5. The outfield
Let's be real here. We could have filled all five of these slots with concerns about the outfield.
The problem isn't just the confusion at the big league level, it's also that there doesn't appear to be an obvious solution coming down the tracks.
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Austin Slater reworked his swing in the offseason and had a bad spring. Chris Shaw is repeating Triple-A for a second time, and if Zaidi didn't see a spot for him now, you wonder what his future holds. Williamson's role is suddenly murky. Drew Ferguson had a terrible spring and was returned to the Astros. Mike Gerber could be a nice find, but he'll start the year in Sacramento. The Giants didn't see much from Henry Ramos and Anthony Garcia this spring.
Zaidi will continue to discuss trades and work the waiver wire, but at some point the Giants will need to develop their own outfield solutions, and they don't appear much closer to doing so than they were at the end of last season.