Pablo Sandoval, recent additions make cut as Giants prepare roster

Pablo Sandoval, recent additions make cut as Giants prepare roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- It appears Farhan Zaidi found a way to get a few young lottery tickets on the Giants’ roster while also keeping his manager happy. 

Bruce Bochy said Tuesday night that Pablo Sandoval is on the team, along with Rule 5 picks Connor Joe and Travis Bergen and recently added outfielder Michael Reed. 

There was some confusion with Sandoval, who was on the bubble in recent days after the Giants added Joe, a versatile right-handed bat. Initially, Bochy said Sandoval is on the team "right now," but he later said he didn't need to inform Sandoval of any decision because he was on the team until told otherwise.

Either way, it appears Sandoval will be there in San Diego on Thursday with a manager who wanted his energy around.

"I think you guys know how much I think of Pablo and the job he has done for us," Bochy said. 

Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations, hinted before the game that he was leaning toward keeping Alen Hanson instead to help with shortstop depth, but Hanson did not make the team. Yangervis Solarte will be the backup shortstop. Solarte also could see plenty of time in left field. 

Here are some more observations from Tuesday's roster announcements:

--- Mac Williamson seemed headed for the waiver wire before the game, but he was hit on the wrist in his final at-bat of the spring. An X-ray came back negative, but perhaps this buys the Giants some time with a talented player. In theory, they could place Williamson on the injured list to start the year and then send him to Triple-A Sacramento on a rehab assignment as they evaluate Joe and Reed. 

--- Joe and Reed are the right-handed outfield options Zaidi wanted to add to the roster, and one could start in left field on Opening Day against Padres lefty Eric Lauer. 

That would mean the left fielder and two bench bats -- one of those two, plus backup catcher Erik Kratz -- joined the organization in the last week of the spring. The bullpen includes a Rule 5 pick (Travis Bergen) and two right-handers picked up in February (Trevor Gott and Nick Vincent). That tells you what Zaidi thought of the depth pieces he inherited in November. 

--- Joe is more of a utility man, so the Giants have just three true outfielders on their roster. That tells you what Zaidi thought of the outfield pieces he inherited in November. 

--- Tom Murphy, claimed over the weekend, did not make the team. The Giants picked up Murphy with the hopes that they could sneak him through waivers, something the Rockies could not do, and get additional catching depth in the minors. That would be a hell of a sneaky move if they pull it off. 

--- The Giants will go with 13 pitchers, with the three above joining Will Smith, Tony Watson, Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon and Reyes Moronta. Bochy would not name a closer this spring, and he declined to do so Tuesday, and no matter how the Giants frame it, that's weird. 

There's no indication that a trade is coming, so you would think Smith would be the choice. We'll have to wait until Thursday for more answers here, but yeah, it's weird. 

--- The rotation order: Madison Bumgarner, Derek Holland, Dereck Rodriguez, Jeff Samardzija, Drew Pomeranz. 

--- Finally, a reminder that the Opening Day roster is one of the most overrated things in the sport. Pierce Johnson, Josh Osich and Roberto Gomez were on the field for the opener last year. 

A lot of this mix will change over the next couple of weeks, and maybe by the time the Giants get to Los Angeles on Monday. Don't stress about the moves too much. 

Why Giants GM Scott Harris wants Joey Bart to learn another position

Why Giants GM Scott Harris wants Joey Bart to learn another position

Buster Posey still is mulling over his plans for the 2020 MLB season, but the Giants do have a young catcher on the cusp of the majors in Joey Bart.

The top catching prospect was expected to start the season in Triple-A Sacramento, however, with the minor league season canceled, Bart is a part of San Francisco's 60-man roster. 

That doesn't mean he will start in the big leagues, though. No matter what Posey decides, the Giants don't want to force Bart up

Before the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft makes his debut, general manager Scott Harris would like to see two key parts of development grow for Bart.

“A couple of developmental priorities for him will be first to improve the game calling," Harris said Thursday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac" show. "Not that we’re at all concerned about his game calling, I just think there is a critical mass of games you need to catch at the minor league level before you’re fully prepared to call a game in the big leagues."

Bart actually called games at Georgia Tech, something that even Matt Wieters wasn't allowed to do from the same college coach. Harris is right, though. Calling games is a skill that catchers must continue to grow and the Giants hoped that would happen for Bart in Sacramento. 

The second part to Harris' answer might be even more important for Bart and the Giants.

“The other thing we talked about quite a bit is we want to expose him to other positions on the field," Harris said. "Not because we are concerned about his catching at all, we already think he is a plus receiver and thrower, but because one of the main tenants of our developmental philosophy is versatility.

"We want to give our major league manager as many opportunities as possible to get our best bats in the lineup. We think the demands of the catching position are such that that it is a benefit of both the player and the team to be able to play multiple positions.”

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Since the Giants drafted Bart, he hasn't played anywhere on the field other than behind the plate. The same goes for his college career. Learning a new position would have been a perfect opportunity for Bart in the Arizona Fall League, but he fractured his thumb hitting in the AFL.

Now Bart will have Summer Camp to learn a new skill, making the name of spring training 2.0 that much more fitting. He will be in camp with Patrick Bailey, a fellow catcher who the Giants took in the first round of the draft this year. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Giants had Bailey work on another position as well. 

[RELATED: Why Bart, three Giants pitchers are intriguing Kruk, Kuip]

Versatility is the name of the game for the Giants and the rest of baseball right now. Bart currently is lacking it, though that soon could change. He has a strong arm behind the plate and moves well for his 6-foot-2, 238-pound frame. It will be interesting to see if the Giants simply hand him a first baseman's mitt, or if he learns another position like third base or the outfield.

“The more that Joey can move around, the more options that his major league manager is going to have to get his bat in the lineup, and I think that’s really important for his career and for the future of the Giants," Harris said. 

Bart could find his way to a major league game during this 60-game season. The Giants will make sure they feel he is 100 percent ready first, though. There's no doubt he holds a key to San Francisco's future success, and there's no reason to rush and open that door too soon.

Matt Duffy gives 'never say never' answer to future Giants reunion

Matt Duffy gives 'never say never' answer to future Giants reunion

The Giants have brought back many players for a second rodeo in the past.

Hunter Pence was their latest example this past offseason when the Giants signed the two-time World Series champion to a one-year contract, and he certainly won't be the last player to come back for Round 2 in San Francisco. Perhaps there could be another reunion for a fan-favorite in the future. 

"Never say never," Matt Duffy said Wednesday to KNBR's Mark Willard. 

Duffy, 29, signed with the New York Yankees on June 28. He signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, but they released him before announcing their 60-man roster for Summer Camp. New York quickly swooped in and signed the infielder. 

The Giants called to "check in" over the offseason as well. But there is no reunion in place. At least, not yet.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

"We did have some dialogue with the Giants this offseason, but it just didn't seem like the interest was there and as mutual as some other opportunities," Duffy said. "But yeah, like I said, never say never."

Duffy made his big league debut with the Giants in 2014, and instantly became a fan-favorite. He hit .267 over 34 games that year, then starred as a rookie the next season. Duffy finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting after he hit .295/.334/.428 with 28 doubles, 12 homers and 77 RBI in 149 games.

Unfortunately for Duffy, that has been his only full season in the big leagues. In 2016, Duffy was hampered by an Achilles injury and played in 70 games for the Giants. Then on Aug. 1, 2016 the Giants traded Duffy with prospects Lucius Fox and Michael Santos to the Tampa Bay Rays for left-handed pitcher Matt Moore.

[RELATED: Posey, Belt face inevitable risk amid coronavirus pandemic]

Duffy played 21 games for the Rays in 2016, but underwent season-ending Achilles surgery and missed the entire 2017 season. He hit .294 for the Rays in 2018, and only played in 46 games last year. 

Injuries have hampered Duffy throughout his career. However, if healthy, Giants fans certainly would welcome a reunion in the future.