SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster.
A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs.
In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options.
Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring.
Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot.
Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp.
The Giants break camp on Friday.
After reportedly hitting a snag earlier in the day, it seems imminent that Manny Machado will be traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to multiple national reports.
Machado has spent his entire seven-year career with the Orioles after Baltimore took him No. 3 overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. With the Orioles, Machado is a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner.
He become a free agent after the 2018 season at just 26 years old.
The Dodgers currently lead the NL West with a 53-43 record. The Giants are four games behind at 50-48.
For good reasons, Joey Bart has earned all the headlines with his big bat and eye-popping stats. The Giants' top pick in the 2018 MLB Draft now has seven home runs and 18 RBI in 11 games for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
Bart, however, isn't the first player that makes you stop in your tracks when looking at San Francisco's draft picks this year. The Giants' second pick in this year's draft and biggest player (by height) has been quite impressive himself.
Bart's battery mate Sean Hjelle is living up to his 6-foot-11 frame. The second-round pick has posted three straight scoreless outings for Salem-Keizer.
In fact, Hjelle has only allowed one earned run to start his professional career. That came in his first start, the only time Bart has not caught him.
Over Hejelle's scoreless streak, he has allowed just two hits in five innings with four strikeouts and zero walks. Through six innings with Salem-Keizer, Hjelle is 0-0 with a 1.45 ERA and has five strikeouts to no walks.
“We love the way he’s handled himself. He doesn’t move like he’s a 6-foot-11 pitcher,” Giants scouting director John Barr said after drafting Hjelle. “You expect him to be gawky but he moves his feet. When he walks past you or you shake his hand, you realize how tall he is. When he’s on the mound he controls his body. He really controls his body well, which shows his athleticism. He’s a good athlete.”
The Giants selected Hjelle No. 45 overall out of the University of Kentucky. In three seasons as a Wildcat, Hjelle went 22-10 with a 3.68 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 228.2 innings pitched. He was also named the 2017 SEC Pitcher of the Year.
If Hjelle reaches the major leagues, he would tie Jon Rauch as the tallest player in MLB history.