Giants protect five from Rule 5, add to 40-man roster


Giants protect five from Rule 5, add to 40-man roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants added right-handers Chase Johnson, Reyes Moronta and Dan Slania to their 40-man roster on Friday, along with infielder/outfielder Orlando Calixte and infielder Miguel Gomez. The moves protected the players from the Rule 5 Draft that will be held at the Winter Meetings next month. 

Johnson, 24, was a third-round pick out of Cal Poly in 2013. He made 24 appearances for Double-A Richmond and was converted from starting to relieving. In 17 appearances out of the bullpen, Johnson had a 2.30 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning.

The 23-year-old Moronta has piled up big strikeout numbers throughout his five seasons in the system. Moronta has 263 strikeouts in 208 2/3 minor league innings and he whiffed 93 in 60 relief appearances for the San Jose Giants last year. 

At 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, Slania is an imposing presence who flourished after moving to the rotation. He pitched at three levels last season and opened eyes with a 1.48 ERA in 10 starts for Double-A Richmond. The 24-year-old allowed two runs and struck out 14 in two Triple-A starts.

Calixte signed as a minor league free agent earlier this month. The 24-year-old played in Double-A and Triple-A for the Royals last season, hitting .274 with 11 homers and 19 stolen bases. He played in two big league games in 2015. Calixte has played second, short and third in the minors along with all three outfield spots.

Gomez hit .330 in A-ball last year with 17 homers and 26 doubles, playing first, second and third. He turns 24 next month.

The 2016 class was smaller than the 2015 one. Last November, the Giants added eight pitchers to their 40-man roster, including three -- Ty Blach, Steven Okert and Chris Stratton -- who pitched for the big league club during the 2016 season. Two others, Adalberto Mejia and Jake Smith, broke in elsewhere. Mejia was dealt to the Twins in the Eduardo Nuñez trade and Smith made it up to the big leagues with the Padres after getting designated for assignment by the Giants.

Clayton Blackburn, Kyle Crick and Ian Gardeck were the other players added last season. Blackburn was briefly called up to the Majors but he didn't pitch in a game. Crick spent the entire season at Double-A and Gardeck had Tommy John surgery.

MLB free agency debate: Where will Manny Machado sign this offseason?

MLB free agency debate: Where will Manny Machado sign this offseason?

Editor's note: Each day this week, Giants insider Alex Pavlovic and A's reporter Ben Ross will debate where one of the top five free agents might land this offseason. Wednesday's free agent to discuss is Manny Machado, a four-time All-Star infielder who has spent the last half of the 2018 season with the Dodgers.

ALEX: Ben, people have been looking forward to this free agent class for years, but it ended up being a little underwhelming. Clayton Kershaw didn't opt out, guys like Dallas Keuchel, Josh Donaldson and Andrew McCutchen dropped off a bit, and former All-Stars like Hunter Pence have totally fallen off the map.

But it's still a historic class with two young superstars at the top -- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. We talked about Harper on Monday. Machado is the better all-around player, but there's a cloud hanging over his head after his postseason behavior.

[RELATED: Debate -- Where will Brantley sign?]

Personally, I don't think that'll cost him money. Aroldis Chapman got paid and Roberto Osuna got traded to a contender. Machado will get his big deal somewhere. What do you think?

BEN: Agreed. Machado is a special talent. He’s already a four-time All-Star and still just 25 years old. He is going to get his $300+ million contract from someone. So who are the contenders? I’m thinking the Yankees and Phillies are the frontrunners.

I don’t see him staying with the Dodgers, but maybe the Angels try to make a splash? How about the Cubs or White Sox? Who am I missing?

ALEX: I do wonder if the Mets will get involved if their new GM can convince them to spend. The Angels are a nice darkhorse for a lot of these guys. Some people have speculated he could go home to Miami.

But it sounds like the Yankees and Phillies have been out in front of this one. I'm going to lean towards the Phillies, because they have to get Harper or Machado, and I think Machado is the better fit. What's the official Ben Ross prediction? 

BEN: I've thought all along he would end up with the Yankees and I'll stick with that. I know there are reports they're concerned with Machado's comments about hustling -- not to mention his other antics -- but I don't think they'll be scared off. They have the opportunity to put Machado, Stanton, and Judge all in the same lineup. I'll say Machado gets 12 years, $325 million.

ALEX: I'm going to take the under. If the Yankees aren't that serious, there aren't enough major suitors out there to push his market where he wants it to end up. I'll say the Phillies get their guy, but at $261 million over nine years.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Wednesday is dedicated to free agent infielder Manny Machado.

'No red flags' for six injured Giants six weeks into the offseason


'No red flags' for six injured Giants six weeks into the offseason

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few hours before the Giants named Farhan Zaidi their new president of baseball operations, assistant general manager Jeremy Shelley stood in the lobby of the Omni Resort in Carlsbad and looked down at a notecard full of names. He had been asked about the large collection of Giants who finished the season on crutches or in slings. 

"No red flags," he said.

Zaidi's first order of business will be to build depth for a team that was crushed by injuries in 2018. That effort will be helped by the fact that all of the rehabbing Giants appear to be doing well. They're all on schedule, or in some cases, a little ahead.

It starts with catcher Buster Posey, of course. He's off his crutches and walking normally two and a half months after major hip surgery. Posey has been rehabbing five days per week in the Bay Area, and remains on pace to start baseball work in January.

Shelley said Posey "definitely" will be ready for activity in spring training, as the Giants had anticipated all along.

When Posey shows up in Scottsdale, he'll at some point run into Johnny Cueto. The right-hander is back in the Dominican Republic right now after months of rehab work in Arizona. He'll continue physical therapy at his offseason home and return to Scottsdale in February to begin a throwing program. There's still a chance that Cueto, who had Tommy John surgery, can return for a few starts at the end of next season.

First baseman Brandon Belt, who had a knee cleanup, is off his crutches and doing well. Steven Duggar (shoulder surgery), the likely Opening Day center fielder, just finished his rehab work in Arizona. He'll return to be checked later this month and then start a hitting program the first week of January. Austin Slater went down the last week of the season with an elbow sprain, but the young outfielder has started a throwing program and also is on schedule. 

Finally, there's a player who never made it back to the big leagues after a concussion. Shelley said Mac Williamson was cleared of symptoms in September and has had a normal offseason.

"He should be on schedule to compete for a job in spring training," Shelley said.

Williamson is out of options, so next spring is a big one for a player who looked headed for a breakout before he went down.