Giants

Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants signed only one free agent to a significant deal this offseason, but a winter of minor moves led to one of the most intriguing non-roster invitee groups in years. The list, released Wednesday, includes a former MVP, a 2014 fan favorite, top prospects, former Giants, a Korean slugger, and plenty of veterans who will try to play their way onto the opening day bench or bullpen. 

Many of the 28 names had previously trickled out, including Michael Morse, a key member of the last title team, and Jimmy Rollins, a Bay Area native who won the MVP award with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007. Tyler Beede and Christian Arroyo are among the many top Giants prospects who will be back in camp. 

Morse disappeared from the game early last season after being released by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hit 16 home runs for the Giants in 2014 and added a clutch shot in the NLCS, but he has just 237 at-bats over the past two seasons. He was extremely popular with teammates, the staff and fans, and the Giants will take another look to see if the 34-year-old can provide some much-needed pop off the bench and if he is still viable in left field. 

Rollins, 38, is attempting a comeback with a team that nearly signed him a year ago. The former Encinal (Alameda) High star chose the White Sox last spring because he wanted one last shot at an everyday job. He hit just .221 before a June release, but Rollins has always intrigued the Giants, and he’ll compete for a utility infielder job. The Giants do not have a set backup for Brandon Crawford after designating Ehire Adrianza for assignment. Rollins, a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner, will also play second base and third during the spring. 

 

"The challenge for Jimmy -- he hasn't necessarily had the bat recently that he's had in the past. And coming off the bench is very different than starting every day," general manager Bobby Evans said recently on KNBR. "And playing second or third is not something he's done. So there's going to be challenges for him, but I'm excited that he wanted to come here. That says a lot about him and about the organization and about his interest in the Bay Area."

Beede, the organization’s top pitching prospect, and Arroyo, the top position player, highlight a group of younger players who have plenty of experience already in big league camp. Coming off a strong Double-A season, the 23-year-old Beede is likely ticketed for Triple-A as the next man up behind Matt Cain and Ty Blach, and the Giants expect him to make his MLB debut sometime in 2017. Beede will get a chance to speed up the timetable this March, and the budding rapper will also get a second shot at cracking Crawford’s batting practice soundtrack. 

Arroyo, 21, has looked right at home in two previous springs at Scottsdale Stadium, going 14-for-26 at the plate with a pair of homers. The focus this spring will likely come on the defensive side, as Arroyo will primarily play third base going forward. Like Beede, he has put himself within shouting distance of a call-up, and he’s viewed as the future starter alongside Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Crawford. 

Austin Slater is the young position player who is perhaps closest to the majors, and he'll be in camp for the first time. The 24-year-old outfielder hit .298 with 13 homers in 68 games at Triple-A last season and could benefit from the front office's decision to go young in left field. Ryder Jones and Aramis Garcia, who represented the Giants in the Arizona Fall League, will be back in camp, along with Sam Coonrod and Matt Winn.

The Giants traditionally identify a list of minor league free agents (like 2012 non-roster addition Gregor Blanco) who might be able to thrive with a fresh start. One of the first who signed this year was Chris Marrero, a former first-rounder who brings some more power potential. Jae-gyun Hwang signed in late January and the Giants are hoping his bat translates from Korea. He will fight for a backup job at third base. Bryan Morris, a right-handed reliever, signed shortly after Mark Melancon as a depth option in the bullpen. 

In all, the Giants invited 11 pitchers. The right-handers are Beede, Coonrod, Morris, Carlos Alvarado, Jose Dominguez, Roberto Gomez, and Neil Ramirez. The lefties are Matt Reynolds, Michael Roth, Kraig Sitton and Andrew Suarez, who is one of the organization's top prospects. 

 

Former big leaguers Tim Federowicz and Josmil Pinto will join the younger catchers. The eight infielders are Rollins, Arroyo, Hwang, Marrero, Jones, CJ Hinojosa, Kyle Blanks and Juniel Querecuto. The five outfielders are Morse, Slater, veteran left-handed-masher Justin Ruggiano, Steven Duggar and Wynton Bernard. 

Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13 and the first full squad workout at Scottsdale Stadium comes on Feb. 17. All 28 non-roster invitees are listed below.

Pitchers (11)

  • RHP Carlos Alvarado
  • RHP Tyler Beede
  • RHP Samuel Coonrod
  • RHP Jose Dominguez
  • RHP Roberto Gomez
  • RHP Bryan Morris
  • RHP Neil Ramirez
  • LHP Matt Reynolds
  • LHP Michael Roth
  • LHP Kraig Sitton
  • LHP Andrew Suarez

Catchers (4)

  • Tim Federowicz
  • Aramis Garcia
  • Josmil Pinto
  • Matt Winn

Infielders (8)

  • Christian Arroyo
  • Kyle Blanks
  • CJ Hinojosa
  • Jae-Gyun Hwang
  • Ryder Jones
  • Chris Marrero
  • Juniel Querecuto
  • Jimmy Rollins

Outfielders (5)

  • Wynton Bernard
  • Steven Duggar
  • Michael Morse
  • Justin Ruggiano
  • Austin Slater