Giants

Roster breakdown: Where Giants stand one week from MLB Winter Meetings

longoriabeltpanikusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Roster breakdown: Where Giants stand one week from MLB Winter Meetings

SAN FRANCISCO -- On his first day on the job, Farhan Zaidi said the goal of the front office would be to form a 40-man roster "where taking any player off gives you heartburn."

So far, the 40-man has only seen subtractions. Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez were the latest to go, leaving Zaidi with 34 players on his roster with one week until the start of the Winter Meetings. He has flexibility, but he also has work to do.

Here's a breakdown of where the roster stands as we approach the busiest part of the offseason:

Catcher: Buster Posey remains on track to be ready by spring training, but at the moment, the Giants have just one other catcher on the roster. They would be fine with Aramis Garcia as their backup, but expect them to add at least one veteran in the coming weeks. Nick Hundley is still out there. 

Corner Infield: Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria might end up being trade chips, but at the moment they make up the heart of the order. There haven't been any real changes here, and unless he trades one of those two guys, Zaidi doesn't really need to add.

The Giants owe Pablo Sandoval just the MLB minimum next season and he fits well with Zaidi's idea of team chemistry. 

Middle Infield: Joe Panik signed a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration, but that doesn't mean the Giants won't trade him at some point. For now, the Panik-Crawford duo is set to be back in the infield, with Alen Hanson and Abiatal Avelino the only players behind them on the 40-man roster.

Kelby Tomlinson is a Diamondback and Chase d'Arnaud is a free agent. Hanson and Avelino are pretty interesting in this new era. Zaidi likes versatility and could be open to playing Hanson all over the field more, especially because he has significant platoon splits. Avelino is playing winter ball and could be another do-everything piece. Expect at least one addition to this group in the coming weeks. 

Outfield: The Giants have just four outfielders on their 40-man roster and all are relatively unproven. Steven Duggar is the center fielder, but look for Zaidi to add significant depth to a group that also includes Chris Shaw, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater.

The Giants don't appear to be in on the biggest player in this market, but there are other options who can give the lineup a boost. 

Rotation: Assuming they don't trade Madison Bumgarner -- I don't believe they will this offseason -- the Giants have a pretty good start here with Bumgarner, Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez. Jeff Samardzija is said to be doing well, but this is the main area where Zaidi is looking to add depth.

Remember, the Dodgers regularly loaded up on starters when Zaidi was GM. It wouldn't be a surprise to see at least a couple of veterans brought in, giving the Giants some wiggle room if Samardzija isn't back to his old form. There are some sleeper options in terms of starters. 

Bullpen: Strickland made 244 appearances for the Giants over the last four seasons, but that workload can be replaced by the emergence of Reyes Moronta and possibly Ray Black. The bullpen is an area where Zaidi has traditionally looked for cheap breakout options, which means the Rule 5 Draft could be a bit more interesting for the Giants this winter, and they likely will add more options than in past years.

Guys like Melvin Adon -- recently added to the 40-man roster -- could be on the fast track. The Giants are actually in pretty good shape here, but it would be smart to build depth. If they're fading near the trade deadline, trading relievers will be the easiest way to stockpile prospects, and Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson will be on the block. 

Barry Bonds closer comparison to Michael Jordan than Madison Bumgarner

Barry Bonds closer comparison to Michael Jordan than Madison Bumgarner

Michael Jordan and his exploits have dominated the internet for months since ESPN’s “The Last Dance” premiered. Comparisons and retrospectives have become a constant across social media. 

In that spirit, Bleacher Report tried to analyze who most closely resembles MJ’s legacy in MLB and identified two former Giants who possess Jordan-esque qualities: Madison Bumgarner and Barry Bonds.

For MadBum, his postseason dominance draws the closest parallels to Jordan. In over 100 innings of playoff pitching, Bumgarner has just a 2.11 ERA. That includes a dominant World Series in 2014 where MadBum closed out Game 7 with five scoreless relief innings, earning World Series MVP in the process. Bumgarner was critical to each of the Giants' three World Series titles over the past decade.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Bonds, on the other hand, simply struck fear into the hearts of opponents in a way few athletes ever have. Teams were willing to walk players in with the bases loaded just to avoid giving up a grand slam to Bonds. His eye-popping seven NL MVP awards surpass Jordan’s five NBA MVPs, and the slugger owns all sorts of other league records. Bonds’ lack of a World Series makes this a tough comparison, but baseball is a completely different sport, and one player absolutely isn’t enough to win a championship. Bonds hit four home runs in the one World Series he ever appeared in, but the Los Angeles Angels managed to overtake the Giants in seven games.

[RELATED: Giants' Larry Baer believes 2020 MLB Draft requires 'better scouting']

While neither player is a perfect correlation to Jordan, Bonds clearly is the closer comparison here. MadBum is phenomenal, but he’s never been considered the greatest player or even the greatest pitcher in MLB. Bonds was at the top of the sport for several years and is the greatest slugger the league ever has seen. 

As B/R's Jacob Schafer closes his article with, baseball doesn't have a person who perfectly matches up with Jordan's skillset, personality and impact on the sport.

One thing is for sure: both Bumgarner and Bonds could hit a baseball a heck of a lot better than Jordan ever did.

Nationals honor Gerardo Parra with 'Baby Shark' in World Series ring

Nationals honor Gerardo Parra with 'Baby Shark' in World Series ring

The Washington Nationals unveiled their 2019 World Series ring Sunday, and it has the usual bells and whistles.

Each custom ring features 55 genuine red rubies, 32 sapphires, 170 round diamonds and 23.2 carats of genuine gemstones.

Oh, and one Baby Shark.

What?

That's right. In honor #ForeverGiant Gerardo Parra, who started last season with the Giants before finishing it with the Nationals, the team engraved the "Baby Shark" on the inside of the ring.

Why "Baby Shark?" Because it was Parra's walk-up song for a part of the 2019 season in Washington, and it became the Nationals' rally call.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

According to NBC Sports Washington, Parra was going through a slump and wanted to change his song. He initially didn't want "Baby Shark," but it kept coming up on his phone because his 2-year-old daughter was continually listening to it.

“So, every time I pick, want to move the song -- every time move it -- the “Baby Shark” coming,” Parra told  NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas. “I said, no, I don’t want “Baby Shark.” I do it like three times like that. Baby Shark coming, “Baby Shark” coming. I said, hey, do “Baby Shark,” my song for my kids, my babies.”

Parra signed a minor league contract with the Giants last February, but he played in just 30 games before being released. Little did Parra know that his next stop would result in him winning a World Series ring.

And Parra probably never could have imagined that the "Baby Shark" song he never wanted would be immortalized on the 2019 World Series ring.

[RELATED: Parra impersonated by Batting Stance Guy]

In case you want a glimpse of the Nats' ring, here it is:

That's a nice piece of hardware.

While you wait for the global coronavirus pandemic to end, go ahead and sing "Doo doo doo doo doo doo, Baby Shark" to yourself.