Chase d'Arnaud

Giants cut Kelby Tomlinson, four more from 40-man roster before MLB offseason

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USATSI

Giants cut Kelby Tomlinson, four more from 40-man roster before MLB offseason

SAN FRANCISCO -- With five players set to come off the 60-day DL, the Giants on Monday parted ways with some familiar names. Five players were outrighted off the 40-man roster, clearing the way for the Giants to add Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Julian Fernandez back to the 40-man roster, as they had to before the start of the offseason. 

Infielder Chase d'Arnaud and right-hander Casey Kelly were outrighted and elected to become free agents. Infielders Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez became minor-league free agents. Tyler Herb was outrighted to Triple-A and remains with the organization. 

Tomlinson saw the most time of the group, playing 273 games for the Giants over the past four seasons. But he hit .207 in 2018 and was passed on the depth chart by Alen Hanson and Abiatal Avelino. 

Kelly and d'Arnaud contributed in the second half, but neither would have been in the Opening Day plans next season. D'Arnaud was eligible for arbitration and the Giants did not plan to bring him back at a higher price. Gomez was once viewed as a promising switch-hitting prospect, but his bat has not developed as hoped and the Giants do not believe he has a defensive position. 

The Giants will have to make further 40-man cuts over the next six weeks as they protect players from the Rule 5 draft and potentially add free agents. 

Giants Review: Chase d'Arnaud takes the mound in sixth big league stop

Giants Review: Chase d'Arnaud takes the mound in sixth big league stop

SAN FRANCISCO — Everywhere the Giants went in the second half, Chase d’Arnaud seemed to know somebody. The visiting team usually stretches while the home team is finishing batting practice, and it was a common sight to see d’Arnaud walk over and chat with a former teammate or coach. 

Part of that is d’Arnaud’s personality. He’s as energetic and friendly as any ballplayer. But part of that is also the fact that, well, d’Arnaud has played with a lot of different teammates. The Giants were d’Arnaud’s sixth organization in the last five seasons, and he ended up getting 100 big league plate appearances. Here’s a rundown of the highs and lows … 

What Went Right: Look, the numbers don’t lie — d’Arnaud tied Pablo Sandoval and 18 others for the NL lead in ERA. That's a fact. He took the mound for the first time on August 19 in Cincinnati and recorded three flyouts while giving up a single. With that inning, d’Arnaud — like Sandoval — finished the year with a 0.00 ERA. He joined Sandoval and Matty Alou as the only position players in franchise history to pitch a scoreless inning.

With three homers, including two that gave the Giants a lead, d’Arnaud set a new career-high. He reached 100 plate appearances for just the third time as a big leaguer, playing every position but catcher and outfield. 

What Went Wrong: d’Arnaud hit .273 in his first 14 games but had just eight hits in 49 at-bats the rest of the way. All three of his homers came in that first stretch, and over the season’s final two months he had just three extra-base hits. The way to make your mark off the bench is to come through as a pinch-hitter, and he was just 1-for-15 in those situations with 10 strikeouts. 

Overall, d’Arnaud posted a .215/.253/.366 slash line. He showed off his speed in spring training, but at the big league level he had just two stolen bases. 

Contract Status: After signing a minor league deal last winter, d’Arnaud has gathered enough service time to be arbitration eligible. MLB Trade Rumors projects that he’ll make $800,000 if he goes through that process. 

The Future: It seems a no-brainer that d’Arnaud will be non-tendered by the Giants. They have younger, cheaper options as infield depth and they need his 40-man roster spot. D’Arnaud did everything that was asked of him and was good in the clubhouse (he does an amazing job of interacting with fans, too), but the Giants invite two or three middle infield non-roster invitees to camp every year and will do so again. Perhaps d’Arnaud will be part of that mix in 2019, or perhaps he’ll continue his tour, adding a seventh big league hat to the collection.

Why Giants have some difficult decisions based off arbitration projections

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USATSI

Why Giants have some difficult decisions based off arbitration projections

SAN FRANCISCO — When he was asked about his arbitration-eligible players earlier this month, vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean pointed out that the Giants are not trying to come to terms with a huge name like Bumgarner or Posey. The list is one full of players who saw plenty of time in 2018, though. 

The Giants have six players eligible for arbitration, including their starting second baseman and three key members of the bullpen. They generally have not had tough arbitration decisions in recent years, but there’s a strong chance they non-tender at least one or two of these players and spend that money elsewhere.

Sabean, who is still in charge until a new executive is hired, would not give hints one way or the other. 

“Whether they’ll still be on the team, that’s for somebody else to decide,” he said. “We are not worried about arbitration.”

The Giants should have someone new in place by the time these decisions have to be made in about six weeks, but thanks to MLB Trade Rumors we can take an early look at what the six players might be looking at. The website projects arbitration salaries each year and has proven to have a very accurate model. Here are this year’s projections: 

Sam Dyson – $5.4MM
Joe Panik – $4.2MM
Will Smith – $4.1MM
Hunter Strickland – $2.5MM
Gorkys Hernandez – $1.6MM
Chase d’Arnaud – $800K

Smith, the closer, is a no-brainer. He’ll be back at some price in that neighborhood, and the Giants might want to look into discussing a multi-year deal given how well he threw in 2018.

Dyson also pitched well, posting a 2.69 ERA in 74 appearances. He’s a workhorse for Bruce Bochy, and while he’s starting to get pricey for a non-closer, he still holds plenty of value and could be a trade chip if the Giants once again fall out of contention.

Early in the season, Strickland looked headed for a much higher salary, but he punched a door, lost his ninth-inning job, and didn’t look anything like his old self once he returned. Strickland still is cheap for a proven reliever, but his second half was concerning, and a new regime may decide that Melancon, Watson, Dyson and Smith should be surrounded by relievers making the league minimum. 

Hernandez surprised with 15 homers, but his OPS dipped to .506 after the All-Star break. The Giants don’t have much outfield depth, though, and their starting center fielder — Steven Duggar — is coming off shoulder surgery. Bringing Hernandez back for one more year would be the wise move, and it seems the likely one.

On the infield, there is depth, and d’Arnaud’s spot on the 40-man roster will likely be needed for a free agent addition or player being protected from the Rule 5 Draft. 

Finally, there’s the biggest name. The Panik decision may be the most interesting one the Giants make this offseason. He’s a former All-Star and Gold Glove winner, but he had a down year and a new baseball ops leader won’t have any sort of history with Panik.

It’s very possible the Giants decide to look elsewhere at second base, and the difference between this $4.2 million projection and the annual salaries of some free agent options won’t be much. Panik spoke about the looming decision at the end of the regular season.