When the Giants took the field for the first time back in February, they had 72 players on their spring roster. They whittled that down over the next month, getting to 50 with a round of four cuts two days before the sport shut down because of the coronavirus, and later revealing that two more players had been optioned and two non-roster invitees had been released.
They'll return to the field next week, and in some ways, the roster race will start over. One of the last two players optioned -- Shaun Anderson -- was supposed to start the year in Triple-A but makes a lot of sense, as a former starter, for a pitching staff filled with interchangeable pieces. The other, Steven Duggar, looks more valuable now than he did in March, with a glove that could come in handy in the late innings as the Giants treat every game like a playoff game.
Several players who would have started the season on the Injured List now are healthy. The 60-day IL is now the 45-day IL, and Tyler Anderson no longer is a candidate for it. Reyes Moronta and Aramis Garcia hope to return in August, too.
While the Giants cut down to 48 players by the end of March, they now can expand back to 60, with top prospects like Marco Luciano and Hunter Bishop joining the player pool and about a half-dozen more on the way.
There's a lot to figure out from a roster standpoint, and that was even before you get to the fact that a three-month transactions freeze ended Friday at 9 a.m. Will the Giants add an outfielder, say a pretty famous one? With catching depth so important over a sprint, will they find someone to add to the Tyler Heineman-Rob Brantly competition?
Will this be an unfortunate time to cut some veterans or Triple-A players loose, knowing that they likely won't play this season and would be off the 40-man roster before next spring anyway?
We'll find out this weekend. Teams have until Sunday at 1 p.m. PST to set their 60-man player pool. As you wait for that news, here's a look back at what the roster looked like at the end of camp, when the Giants had 29 members of the 40-man remaining, 17 non-roster invitees, and one player (Moronta) on the IL:
Pitchers (16 on 40-man, 7 non-roster invitees)
With starters expected to go just three or four innings the first couple of times through the rotation, you can bet that just about all of these guys will be in camp, with more being added. Right-hander Tyler Cyr, for instance, is being added back to the player pool after being reassigned to the minors March 6.
Shaun Anderson will return, but another 40-man pitcher is out of the mix. Tyler Beede had Tommy John surgery during the hiatus and will go on the 45-day IL, opening up a spot. Dany Jimenez would have been a tough decision at the end of camp, but it now becomes much easier to keep a Rule 5 pick around, especially one who can pitch mop-up innings.
The non-roster group includes guys like Trevor Cahill and Tyson Ross, who could help form a pitching staff that doesn't have a true five-man rotation. If the Giants want to add additional top prospects to their player pool, though, this is where to look to find slots. Most of the non-roster pitchers were veterans who won't be around a few months from now.
Catchers (2 on 40-man, 3 non-roster invitees)
With Garcia still recovering from hip surgery, Buster Posey is the only healthy catcher on the roster right now. Heineman and Brantly will continue their battle for the backup spot, and it's possible that the one left out becomes the catcher on the traveling taxi squad. The Giants can take three additional players on the road but one must be a catcher.
Joey Bart was sent to minor league camp the week the sport shut down, but he'll be back, just not in the Opening Day mix. Chad Tromp and Ricardo Genoves were the other catchers in camp. It's possible both are part of the player pool. Depth is important here, and not just at the big league level. The players not on the active roster are allowed to play intrasquad games, so you probably want at least two catchers in Sacramento all the time.
Infielders (6 on the 40-man, 5 non-roster invitees)
The most difficult decisions for Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris months ago might have come when putting together their infield. Now, they have some breathing room. Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Mauricio Dubon and Wilmer Flores are locks, and it's possible Donovan Solano and non-roster invitees Yolmer Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval all make the roster with four additional spots.
Darin Ruf and Zach Green are two non-roster invitees to keep an eye on. Ruf seems a lock for the roster now that there's a DH, and Green should be part of the player pool as insurance at third base.
Outfielders (5 on the 40-man, 2 non-roster invitees)
There were some in the front office who preferred for Jaylin Davis to start the year in Triple-A and get hot before his big audition, but that's no longer possible, which means he seems assured of a spot alongside Mike Yastrzemski, Hunter Pence and Alex Dickerson. Austin Slater was the only other outfielder on the 40-man when camp ended and could be a good fit for a season full of platoons and in-game positional switches.
The Giants already are talking about what a weapon Billy Hamilton can be in tight games. He was one of two non-roster invitees remaining, along with Joey Rickard.
Duggar, Chris Shaw and Joe McCarthy all are on the 40-man and will be part of Spring Training 2.0 unless one is DFA'd before Sunday. The Giants do have several players -- including Sandoval and their choice for backup catcher -- who will have to be added to the 40-man before the opener.
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