Where Giants stand on competing, rebuilding after quarter of 2019 season

Where Giants stand on competing, rebuilding after quarter of 2019 season

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Derek Holland spoke up Saturday night and said he didn't know what the front office was doing, he wasn't just speaking for himself. There has been confusion this season, more than in past ones, from the players, coaches, support staff and fans. 

This is not what the #ForeverGiant organization has gotten used to. The roster moves have come quickly, young players are cut loose after a dozen at-bats and veterans are gone in a month. The process has led to some grumbling, and perhaps one day Farhan Zaidi will look back on this season and feel he wasn't clear enough from the start about what the goals would be. 

But in Denver last week, after Yangervis Solarte and Pat Venditte were let go, Zaidi did very clearly lay out his plan. 

"A key for us, I think, is going to be adaptability and looking at different guys. We're trying to compete, but we're also trying to find guys who could be keepers for this organization, who are going to be here for a few years," he said. "We're kind of trying to walk that balance and part of it is giving guys opportunities but sometimes having to pull the plug before you get what really amounts to an appropriate sample look. 

"That's part of the tightrope that we're walking with some of these guys. With that set of goals, I guess it's not that surprising that we moved on quickly from some guys."

That is not the kind of sexy message you put on billboards on Third Street or convey to season ticket holders, but it is a very clear one, and if you just read that one quote, you can see what this season is all about. 

But is it working? A quarter of the way through, let's take a look at those two goals:

"We're Trying to Compete"

Yeah, uhh, they're not competitive. 

At 18-24, the Giants have the sixth-worst winning percentage in the majors. They are 9 1/2 games behind the Dodgers already, and there's no known universe where you could make a realistic argument that they'll get anywhere close to catching them. With a six-game winning streak maybe you could start dreaming of a Wild Card Game, but the Giants have been outscored by 39 runs already, so there's no real reason to believe they can turn it around.

The moves made to compete -- Gerardo Parra, Yangervis, Holland, Drew Pomeranz, etc. -- mostly have backfired. Kevin Pillar has worked out well, but with so much of the core taking a step back, his addition didn't ultimately move the needle much. 

This, most likely, is a 90-plus loss team that will be torn apart at the trade deadline and will end up with another top 10 draft pick. That's good news for the long term!

But it's a major bummer when you remember that this is Bruce Bochy's last season, and the odds are good that he'll be eliminated in mid-September while penciling in a lineup full of prospects. 

"We're Also Trying to Find Guys Who Could Be Keepers"

A big part of the appeal of Connor Joe and Michael Reed was that they are 26 years old. If the front office hit on one of those guys, he could be around for the next Giants team to make the postseason. Alas ...

The jury is still out on most of the "guys who could be keepers." 

Steven Duggar has had a disappointing season at the plate, but the defense -- in any outfield spot -- is elite, and he should be part of the outfield mix for years to come. Tyler Austin, 27, has a .831 OPS and looks like a future bench bat or member of a left field platoon. Mac Williamson is getting his audition, but he's batting just .185 thus far. Mike Gerber did not run with a job. At some point we'll see Aaron Altherr. 

The Giants have plenty of guys in the minors -- Austin Slater, Mike Yastrzemski (who has 11 homers), Chris Shaw (who has made huge strides with plate discipline) -- who could get a look, but here in May, you can't say they have any idea what a 2020 outfield will look like.  

There certainly is concern in the infield, where Pablo Sandoval, 32 years old and about to hit free agency, has been the most consistent hitter. After years of hitting on draft picks, the Giants have gone through a drought in this department, although Jalen Miller has a .802 OPS in the tough Eastern League and the 22-year-old could get a look in the second half. 

On the pitching side, 26-year-old Trevor Gott and 25-year-old Travis Bergen have a chance to be part of future bullpens. But Reyes Moronta has regressed a bit, Dereck Rodriguez was demoted, Tyler Beede has been unable to translate his Triple-A success to the big leagues, Andrew Suarez and Ray Black got hurt, and Logan Webb was suspended

Shaun Anderson's debut was promising, and he'll get another shot next week to try to lock down a rotation spot. But the Giants need to find a lot more over the next four-and-a-half months. They'll send Beede back out to see if it clicks, and Rodriguez and Suarez will be back. 

[RELATED: Which teams make most sense in possible MadBum trade?]

Ultimately, the pitching staff is now in the same position as the lineup. How many guys in either group can you guarantee will be a contributor in 2021? Zaidi had a clear goal, but he'll have to shift. 

To find guys who can be keepers, he will have to officially give up on "trying to compete," trading the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Tony Watson, Sam Dyson and others for prospects and young pre-arbitration players. We always knew that was coming at some point, but the poor start should accelerate the teardown. 

Buster Posey misses third Giants workout for personal reasons, per Gabe Kapler

Buster Posey misses third Giants workout for personal reasons, per Gabe Kapler

The Giants went through their sixth day of work at Oracle Park on Thursday. For the third time, the longtime franchise star was not in the building. 

Buster Posey again missed the workout Thursday for personal reasons and "is still working through some things," per manager Gabe Kapler. 

"Buster is still working through a personal issue, and I want to respect his privacy," Kapler said. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Posey reported to camp Saturday and spoke with reporters, admitting he still had some reservations about playing this season during the coronavirus pandemic. The Poseys have two young children and he noted he would pay attention to how things looked at camp but also around society in general. 

During an appearance on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said earlier Thursday that the Giants would respect any decision Posey makes. 

"I think he's continuing to evaluate things on a day-to-day basis and frankly I think there's a few guys in that boat, certainly guys with young families, and certainly Buster is in that boat," Zaidi said. "It's something else to think about. I don't want to get into other personal things that he may be thinking through. Ultimately we're going to respect the decisions that our players make."

Posey isn't the only player mysteriously missing from camp. Center fielder Billy Hamilton and left-handed reliever Jarlin Garcia were both expected to be on the Opening Day roster, but neither has been seen and both were placed on the 10-day Injured List. Kapler has said a couple of times that he cannot reveal more information about the two. 

"That's all I can share on that front," he said Thursday after confirming they were on the IL for medical purposes.

Teams are not allowed to reveal any information related to COVID-19 tests if players do not give permission, although it's not totally clear what the situation is with Hamilton and Garcia. In Posey's case, the initial tests came back negative, and he was a full participant in workouts over the weekend. 

[RELATED: Giants' list of prospects in camp has many intriguing names]

Like Zaidi, Kapler reiterated that the Giants will back any decision Posey makes, regardless of what that means for a team that currently doesn't have a clear favorite to even back up Posey. Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman are fighting for that job

"Because of what we're up against right now, we're going to take a family-first approach to this," he said. "We will take it on as a responsibility to scramble as necessary but we don't want to rush these personal decisions and we want to respect and honor the stresses that people have that we may not be seeing."

Giants' tentative 2021 MLB schedule includes odd Opening Day quirk

Giants' tentative 2021 MLB schedule includes odd Opening Day quirk

Have you fully digested the 2020 MLB schedule that was released on Monday? Good, because here comes the 2021 schedule! 

MLB released full schedules for next season, and the Giants once again open on the road, but this time in unfamiliar territory. For the first time in club history, the Giants will begin the season in an interleague park with a series in Seattle starting April 1. The Giants play their home opener April 9 against the Rockies. Here's the full schedule:

This will be the 12th consecutive season that the Giants open on the road, something they generally ask for so that they can finish the season at home and have more dates at Oracle Park when kids are out of school over the summer. They will begin the 2020 season in Los Angeles in two weeks (maybe).

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The 2020 season kept teams in their own region as much as possible, which means that the Giants will play the AL West two consecutive years. They were supposed to play the AL Central this season. The Giants will visit the Texas Rangers' new park next June and also have road series in Anaheim and Oakland, in addition to that opener in Seattle. The schedule includes the usual slate of trips to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc., so MLB is at least planning for the likelihood that society and travel are a bit more back to normal next year. 

If fans are allowed back into Oracle Park, there are a few series that stand out. 

[RELATED: Everything to know about the MLB season restart, Giants]

Mike Trout and the Angels visit May 31, Madison Bumgarner's Diamondbacks come for the first time on June 14, and the Houston Astros visit July 31 if you have a lot of pent-up booing you would like to do at some point in 2021.