Donovan Solano

Giants' Donovan Solano, two sons had a funny reaction to missed opener

Giants' Donovan Solano, two sons had a funny reaction to missed opener

The Giants weren't much different than you Thursday. They missed baseball, missed having an Opening Day and they took to social media to give their thoughts. 

The team Twitter account posted a video from Gabe Kapler, and in the morning Dereck Rodriguez summed up how most of the Giants are feeling with an Instagram post in which he wrote, "Dear baseball; I MISS YOU." Rodriguez included the hashtag #openingdayathome, which was the theme across the league Thursday.

[RELATED: How Dubon is staying ready after missing first Opening Day]

The funniest post may have come from a surprising source, though. Donovan Solano had an underrated season last year -- how aware were you that he hit .402 on the road?! -- and he's relatively quiet in the clubhouse. But the veteran had the best tribute to Opening Day:

Solano posted a couple of blooper videos on his Instagram story. Apparently it took a few takes to get his two young sons to stand and look serious during the anthem, but they definitely nailed that final one. 

How Giants were shaping up as original 2020 MLB Opening Day approaches

How Giants were shaping up as original 2020 MLB Opening Day approaches

The Giants would have flown to Los Angeles on Wednesday. At some point, Gabe Kapler would have sat down with a pen and card and created his first lineup as manager, deciding just how heavy he wanted to go with right-handers with Clayton Kershaw ready to dig in on the other side. Perhaps Kapler would have spent a few minutes with pitching coach Andrew Bailey discussing their best option if they had a lead after eight innings. 

Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris would have finalized the roster, picking a 26th man for the first time and making the final decisions in their outfield and bullpen. They would have scoured the waiver wire one more time, looking for recently-designated players they could slide onto the back of the 40-man roster. 

None of that is the reality right now. The Giants don't know when they will play again, how many games they'll get in 2020, or if fans will even be in attendance the first time Johnny Cueto kicks at the dirt and decides to mix in a shimmy or a quick pitch. 

But at some point, the Giants and the rest of MLB will resume, and at some point the focus will turn back to baseball. There will be an Opening Day, it just won't be tomorrow. There will be an Opening Day roster, and much of it was decided before the coronavirus pandemic hit the pause button on spring training. 

It's unlikely that much will change in terms of the roster before all of this resumes, so with the original Opening Day date just a few hours away, let's take a look at how the Giants were shaping up:

Catcher

The last major move made before the end of the spring was the decision to send Joey Bart back to minor league camp. But all along it was Rob Brantly vs. Tyler Heineman in the race to back up Buster Posey. Neither was tearing it up in the Cactus League, and there definitely was a strong chance that another catcher would have been scooped up this week.

Remember, Zaidi added Erik Kratz and Tom Murphy at the end of his first spring with the Giants. 

Infield

You have your locks in Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria and Wilmer Flores, and there was little doubt that Mauricio Dubon was making the team and seeing plenty of time at second, short and center. 

Donovan Solano has an option remaining but he was 8-for-21 in the spring, reminding the staff of how reliable he has become at the plate. Yolmer Sanchez was just 3-for-26, and while this staff certainly won't overreact to a small sample size, he had to be feeling some nerves as the games ticked by. 

With an extra spot, the Giants could have carried Solano and Sanchez, but that won't be possible when they resume if rosters don't expand for position players. Pablo Sandoval will almost certainly be 100 percent cleared by that point and will get a backup spot. 

Outfield

With Dubon showing he can play center, the Giants gained more flexibility in the outfield, and some clarity was gained when they optioned Steven Duggar to Triple-A. 

Mike Yastrzemski, Hunter Pence and Alex Dickerson are the locks, and after that it might have come down to keeping inventory. The Giants want to get a look at Jaylin Davis this season, but they wouldn't mind him getting hot in Triple-A first. Austin Slater is in a tough spot because he can be optioned. 

With Duggar optioned, it would be somewhat risky to go into a season at Oracle Park with Yastrzemski (who didn't play much center last year) and Dubon (a natural infielder) as your main center fielders, so Billy Hamilton looked to be in a good spot. 

The toughest decision might have been with veteran Darin Ruf, who was 12-for-28 with three homers, five doubles and a triple. Ruf was the story of the final days of camp and his right-handed thunder would have been a nice fit on the bench, but it might be tougher to fit him in once Sandoval is back. 

Rotation

This is where the layoff might end up making a decision for the Giants. Their best option behind Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly is 23-year-old Logan Webb, but he was going to be under a workload restriction after throwing just 103 innings last year. With a shortened season, the Giants can more easily put Webb in their rotation to start and just keep him there, and that's probably what they should do. 

The Giants felt pretty good about their depth, with Trevor Cahill, Trevor Oaks and Andrew Suarez throwing well early on. They'll have another option once all of this resumes; Tyler Anderson was ahead of schedule in rehab from knee surgery and he should be ready. 

Bullpen

There was just about complete uncertainty with this group heading into the spring, and it could be even wilder when Spring Training 2.0 kicks off. That's because the expectation within the game is that a shortened season will at least start with expanded rosters. There has been speculation that teams could start with an additional half-dozen pitchers to make up for the lack of ramp-up time before games begin.

So, if you're trying to make final cuts in the bullpen, maybe you end up just keeping them all and even adding a player who has been optioned already -- say, a Shaun Anderson type. 

[RELATED: Pence doesn't think shorter season cheapens World Series]

The layoff will allow Tony Watson to get his shoulder fully healthy, and Trevor Gott was in a good spot behind him. Quietly, Wandy Peralta and Jarlin Garcia had combined for 18 spring strikeouts in 10 scoreless innings, and both lefties should be in a Giants bullpen of any size. 

With an expanded roster and shortened season, there's no reason to not keep Rule 5 pick Dany Jimenez, and young guys like Sam Coonrod and Tyler Rogers don't have to worry as much about being on the bubble. There is more breathing room for veterans like Jerry Blevins and Nick Vincent, too. 

The Giants could fill out their bullpen with guys like Cahill, Oaks, Suarez, Dereck Rodriguez, Tyson Ross and Andrew Triggs, who could all provide valuable innings, especially with the likelihood that teams will play a lot more doubleheaders.

In a weird way, this might put the Giants in a decent spot. Their staff wasn't being built to go head-to-head with opposing starters for seven innings every night, but they certainly have accumulated plenty of guys who can give you 40-50 pitches several times a week.

How Giants' Opening Day roster could be impacted by contract options

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How Giants' Opening Day roster could be impacted by contract options

The Giants are keeping it competitive at every spot this spring and manager Gabe Kapler talks often of the desire to let player moves be decided purely on merit. 

But the options game will be a part of the equation as the front office and coaching staff put together the 26-man roster in about three weeks, with some deserving players getting squeezed out because they can still be sent back and forth. Some others might have a leg up when decisions are made because the Giants can’t send them to Triple-A.

That especially might be the case in the bullpen. The Giants only have five players on the 40-man roster who are out of options, but Jeff Samardzija, Wilmer Flores and Kevin Gausman have significant roles and too much service time to worry anyway. 

Trevor Gott and Jarlin Garcia also are without options, though, and that will matter. Gott probably was headed for a spot regardless, but you can put him down in permanent marker thanks to his lack of an option. Garcia likely will have an advantage over others, including fellow lefty Wandy Peralta, who has used just two of his three options. 

The most fascinating case might actually be a player who has one option remaining. Donovan Solano should no doubt be on the team given what he did last year, but it is notable that he still can be optioned to Triple-A once more. The Giants have a crowded infield already and it’ll get worse once Pablo Sandoval returns.

[RELATED: Giants GM explains signing Pence over bringing back Pillar]

Tyler Anderson also has an option remaining, although he’s expected to start the season on the injured list as he rehabs from knee surgery. As for the non-roster invitees, Rob Brantly, Jerry Blevins, Tyson Ross and Darin Ruf are among those who cannot be sent back and forth if they do make the Opening Day roster and end up on the 40-man. 

All in all, the Giants have pretty solid flexibility. The hope is that they don’t come close to matching last year’s total of 64 players used, but if president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and general manager Scott Harris have to turn back to that kind of roster churn, they won’t find many restrictions.