Gorkys Hernandez

Where are they now? Former Giants have found new homes for 2019


Where are they now? Former Giants have found new homes for 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- The main pieces of the Giants roster -- the lineup, rotation, back end of the bullpen -- currently look just about exactly the same as they did in 2018, but Farhan Zaidi has been somewhat busy working on the back end. 

When the Giants break camp in a little over two months, they expect to have a different look on their bench and quite a few new names on the 40-man roster. Some players who saw hundreds of at-bats and dozens of innings last season already have been jettisoned, and while it's been a slow market, for the most part former Giants have already found new homes. 

You'd be forgiven for missing some of these transactions, so here's a recap of where members of the 2018 Giants have ended up this winter ... 

Gorkys Hernandez: Projected to make around $1.6 million in arbitration, he was non-tendered and somewhat surprisingly signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox that will pay him $1 million if he's in the big leagues. That's a difficult roster to crack, but perhaps he looked around early and saw that this would be a brutal market for outfielders. 

Andrew McCutchen: One of the few outfielders to cash in, he got three years and $50 million from the Phillies. That's a nice landing spot for McCutchen, who still lives in the Pittsburgh area. 

Hunter Pence: He just had a Winter Ball run with Tores del Este in the Dominican, hitting .276 with one homer in 29 at-bats. He doesn't have a new MLB home yet. 

Nick Hundley: Still on the market. A reunion with the Giants seems somewhat unlikely given Farhan Zaidi's stated preference for a backup catcher who can play other spots. 

Gregor Blanco: A year ago he picked the Giants over the Mets, and this offseason he did end up signing that minor league deal in New York. The Mets later traded for Keon Broxton, which hurts Blanco's spring chances. 

Kelby Tomlinson: Let go by the Giants early, he quickly signed on with the Diamondbacks

Austin Jackson: He wasn't much better with the Mets than with the Giants and is one of many veterans on the free agent outfield. Some of them will not find a new home. 

Hunter Strickland: It's no longer a surprise when guys like Jackson are unsigned. It's a little surprising that Strickland, non-tendered in November, is still a free agent. 

Chase d'Arnaud: He signed a minor league contract with the Rangers, his fifth organization in the last three years. 

Pierce Johnson: He made 37 appearances for the Giants last year but will head overseas, having signed a deal with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. 

Cory Gearrin: A Giant, Ranger and Athletic in 2018, he recently signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Mariners. 

Miguel Gomez: Once a promising bat-first infield prospect, he was let go and seemingly has not found a new organization. He hit just .176 in winter ball. 

Casey Kelly: Like Johnson, he's headed overseas. He signed a deal with the LG Twins in South Korea. 

Roberto Gomez: Fun fact: Roberto Gomez made the Opening Day roster in 2018. He's now a non-roster invitee with the Pirates. 

D.J. Snelten: The Big Snelt, as Bruce Bochy loved to call him, was picked up by the Orioles last summer and is still with them. 

Jose Valdez: It's unclear where he is now. It's also unclear what happened during his time with the Giants. 

Jarrett Parker: Unlike everyone else on this list, he did not play a game for the Giants in 2018. But, little known fact, he did still rehab with them in some form. It was a strange situation but Parker's shoulder acted up again after he was released and the Giants apparently helped with the rehab. Anyway, he's with the Angels now

Roster breakdown: Where Giants stand one week from MLB Winter Meetings


Roster breakdown: Where Giants stand one week from MLB Winter Meetings

SAN FRANCISCO -- On his first day on the job, Farhan Zaidi said the goal of the front office would be to form a 40-man roster "where taking any player off gives you heartburn."

So far, the 40-man has only seen subtractions. Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez were the latest to go, leaving Zaidi with 34 players on his roster with one week until the start of the Winter Meetings. He has flexibility, but he also has work to do.

Here's a breakdown of where the roster stands as we approach the busiest part of the offseason:

Catcher: Buster Posey remains on track to be ready by spring training, but at the moment, the Giants have just one other catcher on the roster. They would be fine with Aramis Garcia as their backup, but expect them to add at least one veteran in the coming weeks. Nick Hundley is still out there. 

Corner Infield: Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria might end up being trade chips, but at the moment they make up the heart of the order. There haven't been any real changes here, and unless he trades one of those two guys, Zaidi doesn't really need to add.

The Giants owe Pablo Sandoval just the MLB minimum next season and he fits well with Zaidi's idea of team chemistry. 

Middle Infield: Joe Panik signed a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration, but that doesn't mean the Giants won't trade him at some point. For now, the Panik-Crawford duo is set to be back in the infield, with Alen Hanson and Abiatal Avelino the only players behind them on the 40-man roster.

Kelby Tomlinson is a Diamondback and Chase d'Arnaud is a free agent. Hanson and Avelino are pretty interesting in this new era. Zaidi likes versatility and could be open to playing Hanson all over the field more, especially because he has significant platoon splits. Avelino is playing winter ball and could be another do-everything piece. Expect at least one addition to this group in the coming weeks. 

Outfield: The Giants have just four outfielders on their 40-man roster and all are relatively unproven. Steven Duggar is the center fielder, but look for Zaidi to add significant depth to a group that also includes Chris Shaw, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater.

The Giants don't appear to be in on the biggest player in this market, but there are other options who can give the lineup a boost. 

Rotation: Assuming they don't trade Madison Bumgarner -- I don't believe they will this offseason -- the Giants have a pretty good start here with Bumgarner, Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez. Jeff Samardzija is said to be doing well, but this is the main area where Zaidi is looking to add depth.

Remember, the Dodgers regularly loaded up on starters when Zaidi was GM. It wouldn't be a surprise to see at least a couple of veterans brought in, giving the Giants some wiggle room if Samardzija isn't back to his old form. There are some sleeper options in terms of starters. 

Bullpen: Strickland made 244 appearances for the Giants over the last four seasons, but that workload can be replaced by the emergence of Reyes Moronta and possibly Ray Black. The bullpen is an area where Zaidi has traditionally looked for cheap breakout options, which means the Rule 5 Draft could be a bit more interesting for the Giants this winter, and they likely will add more options than in past years.

Guys like Melvin Adon -- recently added to the 40-man roster -- could be on the fast track. The Giants are actually in pretty good shape here, but it would be smart to build depth. If they're fading near the trade deadline, trading relievers will be the easiest way to stockpile prospects, and Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson will be on the block. 

Giants keep three vets but part with Hunter Strickland, Gorkys Hernandez


Giants keep three vets but part with Hunter Strickland, Gorkys Hernandez

SAN FRANCISCO -- Farhan Zaidi already has made changes to the Giants' roster, but for now at least, Joe Panik will remain the second baseman. 

Panik and the Giants agreed to a one-year contract Friday afternoon, avoiding arbitration. Sam Dyson also signed a one-year deal, and the Giants tendered a contract to Will Smith while non-tendering Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez, making both players free agents.

It always was unlikely that Panik would be non-tendered, but there was at least a little bit of a question about his future after he had a down year.

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The Giants still could try to move Panik in a deal this offseason or before next season's trade deadline. According to Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, Panik will make $3.8 million in 2019.

The Hernandez decision is understandable, but it was a bit of a surprise that Strickland, who started the 2018 season as the closer, was non-tendered.

Strickland was expected to make only about $2.5 million in the arbitration process, but his velocity was noticeably down after he returned from a hand injury he suffered when he punched a door. Strickland mostly had success on the field for the Giants, but he had some unfortunate incidents that altered his career in orange and black, including a brawl with Bryce Harper.

Hernandez was one of the Giants' best players in the first half, but he had a .506 OPS after the All-Star break and watched as Steven Duggar cemented himself as the everyday center fielder. Duggar is recovering from shoulder surgery, but the Giants likely believe they can find a cheaper backup option on the open market.

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Smith was the easiest call of the bunch. After posting a 2.55 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in his first season back from Tommy John, he serves as the closer and also is one of Zaidi's best trade chips. Smith is expected to make about $4 million in his final season of arbitration. Dyson settled at an even $5 million, according to Heyman.