Why Giants' Rule 5 pick Dany Jimenez has decent chance of making roster

Why Giants' Rule 5 pick Dany Jimenez has decent chance of making roster

It was a pitch that probably caught the attention of very few in attendance for Tuesday's blowout loss to the Cubs, but you can bet a few coaches perked up in the dugout.

With a runner on in the seventh, and one run already in, Dany Jimenez threw a 94 mph fastball at the letters to strike out a Cubs prospect and end the threat. That four-seamer up in the zone is something Giants coaches have been working on with the Rule 5 pick all spring, and his ability to throw it for strikes could put him in the bullpen on Opening Day. 

Rule 5 picks are generally interesting because of their status as players who must make the roster, or be sent back to their previous organization, but Jimenez comes with a bit more intrigue because of the camp he entered.
Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler have gone out of their way to describe the organization's upcoming decisions as being based on merit. They wanted a competitive camp, one in which just about every job was up for grabs, especially on the pitching staff. 

But how do you make decisions based purely on results when you're dealing with a Rule 5 pick? It's not like the Giants can just send Jimenez to Triple-A in two weeks if a similar reliever is slightly better this spring. 

"Dany's competition is just demonstrating that he can perform at this level," Kapler said when asked that question earlier this spring. "And some of that comes with executing a game plan. He's really circling back to the things that he is in control of, which is landing two pitches for strikes. One of them is a fastball at the top of the zone and the other one is a breaking ball. If he can manage to do those two things, he's got plenty of stuff. It's really about landing and commanding those pitches."

The recent results have been encouraging. Jimenez walked the leadoff batter Tuesday and then gave up a single, but he limited the Cubs to one run and came back out for a perfect eighth. The ability to go multiple innings will be big for the 26-year-old, who has just 25 appearances above A-ball. It would make it a bit easier for the Giants to carry him all year. 

Thus far, Jimenez is doing what he needs to. He has allowed two earned runs on seven hits in seven innings, with one walk and three strikeouts. The command in the zone has been spotty at times, but with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a hard curveball that hit 82 mph in a recent outing, Jimenez has the stuff to get big leaguers out. 

The Giants carried Connor Joe and Travis Bergen on Opening Day last year as Rule 5 picks, with Bergen lasting all the way until late August before getting returned to the Blue Jays. With a wide-open bullpen race and an extra roster spot, they can take another chance on a Rule 5 pick. This camp has been about having fair competitions, but there's no doubt that at some point the roster rules come into play. 

[RELATED: Giants won't host A's on March 24]

Just as players with minor league options are punished in a way, Jimenez should be helped by his status, particularly if he keeps throwing strikes. 

"His arm is so lively," Kapler said. "It's really about command in the zone."

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.