Giants

Giants' starting outfield taking shape as Opening Day approaches

Giants' starting outfield taking shape as Opening Day approaches

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants were missing a couple of their regular infielders Tuesday night, but the outfield was one you very well could see in two weeks when the players take the field at Petco Park. 

If the season started today, Mac Williamson would be the left fielder and Gerardo Parra would be in right, flanking Steven Duggar, who looks ready for an everyday job in center and plenty of time atop the lineup

One thing could change all this: The Giants are still searching for a right-handed bat on the market. They were in on Adam Jones, per a source, but not all that high on him, and he's now a Diamondback. People within the organization do expect president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to swing a deal before Opening Day, though.

"We've got to," one team executive recently said. "We need another bat out there."

Zaidi repeatedly has said deals still could get done as rosters are cut down. Until he makes one, though, here's a look at where the Giants' outfield stands:

Steven Duggar

Health was the most important thing for him this spring and his shoulder is at 100 percent.

The Giants haven't turned him loose yet -- he's not allowed to dive in the field and got thrown out on a would-be triple because he wasn't supposed to dive for the bag -- but Duggar has looked good and talks excitedly about lofty goals he has set for his first full season. 

Mac Williamson

The hope is that the 2018 March/April breakout is real. Williamson has hit just .207/.281/.379 this spring but is poised to get his first real extended opportunity in the lineup.

The Giants desperately need the right-handed thump. 

Gerardo Parra

Stand around the clubhouse and ask veterans why they're optimistic and you'll almost certainly hear them gush about Parra, a longtime NL West opponent. He has been strong defensively and gives the Giants a legit arm in right field. At the plate, he has a .866 OPS in 11 Cactus League games.

Parra is not the perfect fit because he adds another lefty bat, but he'll see plenty of time this season, and the Giants certainly need the energy he brings to the field and the clubhouse. 

Cameron Maybin

He has just six hits in 30 at-bats and got a DUI a couple of weeks ago. That's not exactly how either side drew this up. But Zaidi said the off-field incident will not be a factor, calling it "an unfortunate situation" that Maybin "took ownership of."

"The primary driver is going to be us evaluating whether he can help this team and help the organization," Zaidi said. 

Here in mid-March, the Giants view Maybin as their fourth outfielder, with a tentative plan to have him often sub for Williamson defensively late in games. They're hoping his revamped swing locks in late in the spring, and the at-bats have been better in recent days.

"I think he's working on his timing but as he kind of gets his timing and starts working the middle of the field, I think we could see him take it up another level," Zaidi said. "I don't think we've seen the best of him yet, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he does these last couple of weeks."

Austin Slater

A coach stood and watched Slater take BP the other day and talked of how desperately the Giants want the 26-year-old to figure it out. But he's at just .174 this spring with one extra-base hit. 

Slater is versatile defensively, has a great arm, and has worked on adding loft to his swing, so if he ever figures it out he could become a big part of the outfield mix. But for now he's just about a lock to get optioned back to Triple-A. 

Drew Ferguson

The Rule 5 pick was featured here this morning. He has a .476 OPS in Cactus League action. The Giants like his makeup and skills, but right now he's still got an uphill climb ahead of him. Ferguson could be kept as a fifth outfielder, but the staff also needs to figure out whether that's needed with Yangervis Solarte also an option for left. 

In an ideal world, the Giants could send Ferguson to Triple-A to play every day and work his way up. But that's not how the Rule 5 rules work.

"It's find a spot for him or lose him, so that definitely factors in," Zaidi said. 

Perhaps the new president can find a creative workaround as he tries to fit Ferguson in with veterans and guys who are out of options. 

The Rest

Chris Shaw was optioned out on Monday.

Right-handed bats Anthony Garcia and Henry Ramos are intriguing talents, but neither has had the big spring that was needed to crack the roster.

[RELATED: How Giants' spring training cuts so far could have role in 2019 season]

Long-term, keep an eye on Mike Gerber. He had a very impressive at-bat Sunday, shaking off a first-pitch fastball near his chin to deliver a big ninth-inning two-run triple off a hard-throwing Rangers lefty. Gerber has seven hits in 17 at-bats. 

Giants vs. Cubs lineups: Jeff Samardzija on mound trying to avoid sweep

giantslineups.jpg
USATSI

Giants vs. Cubs lineups: Jeff Samardzija on mound trying to avoid sweep

The Giants will be closing out their time in the Windy City on Thursday with a matinee game as they send former Cub Jeff Samardzija to the hill.

Samardzija enters with a 9-9 record and sports a 3.54 ERA. He most recently earned a no-decision after throwing 5 1/3 innings in the Giants’ 10-9 win in Arizona on Friday night.

The Cubs will counter with Kyle Hendricks, who owns nearly identical numbers. The Chicago righty has an 8-9 record and a 3.37 ERA on the year.

Hendricks is making his regular-season debut against San Francisco, but he has faced off with the Orange and Black before. In the 2016 NLDS, Hendricks got the start in Game 2 and pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs as the Cubs won 5-2 inside the Friendly Confines.

Buster Posey is back behind the plate for the Giants after being off Wednesday and Scooter Gennett slides down to the seventh spot in the lineup after hitting second in last night’s game.

[RELATED: Giants' Brandon Crawford talks childhood hobbies through Topps cards]

Here are how the lineups look to shape up as the Cubs play host to the Giants on Thursday. You can follow the action on NBC Sports Bay Area or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams app.

San Francisco Giants (63-64)
Mike Yastrzemski, RF
Buster Posey, C
Alex Dickerson, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Brandon Belt, 1B
Kevin Pillar, CF
Scooter Gennett, 2B
Brandon Crawford, SS
Jeff Samardzija, P (9-9, 3.54 ERA)
 
Chicago Cubs (68-58)
Jason Heyward, CF
Nicholas Castellanos, RF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Javier Baez, SS
Kyle Schwarber, LF
Ian Happ, 2B
Victor Caratini, C
Kyle Hendricks, P (8-9, 3.27 ERA)

Giants' Brandon Crawford talks childhood hobbies through Topps cards

Giants' Brandon Crawford talks childhood hobbies through Topps cards

Editor's note: The Giants sorted through stacks of their own Topps baseball cards as part of the "In the Cards" series with NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic. The third edition is with Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

When it comes to collecting cards, Brandon Crawford has been involved in the hobby since he was growing up, and even before that.

His dad got him started.

"Even back when he was a kid," the Giants shortstop told Alex Pavlovic.

Crawford's dad showed him the ropes when it came to card collecting, and he even had one of those impressive binder-full treasure troves of them. 

When the two-time All-Star first saw himself on a card, it was before he even got his major league call-up -- he was just a freshman at UCLA.

Crawford's collection of memorabilia doesn't stop at cards, either. He kept his All-Star garb as well -- just about everything down to the arm sleeve. 

But the best part of his interview was when Pavlovic pointed out how he has noticed Crawford always will make time to sign anything fans put in front of him. 

[RELATED: Posey details MLB journey through Topps baseball cards]

"That was me as a kid," he said. "I wanted to come to the field early and get autographs if I could."

You can watch the entire Topps "In the Cards" interview with Crawford in the video player above.