At the conclusion of yesterday’s press conference as General Manager Ryan Hetzer had finished speaking and attempted to adjust the microphone towards manager Travis Fryman, the microphone dropped to the floor. The accident was symbolic, however, as Hetzer spent time introducing newest acquisition Neil Ramirez, most likely the final move leading into Spring Training and the last in a long series of offseason moves. In one offseason, the Giants have transformed themselves from the scrappy up and coming team that finished 2020 with a nice stretch into a team that has likely placed a target squarely on its chest. When asked about this, Hetzer was diplomatic, “Of course we like what we were able to do to improve this roster, we believe we are in a position to compete for a playoff spot, but let me tell you the NL West will be a dogfight. Colorado represented the National League in the World Series last year, the Dodgers and Padres will not be conceding anything, and they were better ballclubs than we were last year. So until we go on the field and prove differently, we’re a 4th place team”.
Ramirez in the fold
Neil Ramirez was the reason the assembled media were in attendance, as the Giants announced the signing of the 31 year old reliever to a 1 year, 2.5 million dollar deal. Ramirez has compiled 63 saves over the last two years, and had his best year as a pro in 2020 with 36 saves and a 2.42 ERA. Given this production many industry insiders are pointing to the signing as a great deal. Detractors point out that paying for past production, especially saves, is a mistake many a general manager has made. However, the one year nature of the deal and relatively low cost makes the move mostly low risk.
Fallout from Arenado
The Christmas signing of Nolan Arenado still has fans swooning, but we’re also seeing some changes afoot to the big league plans with his arrival.While the Giants have apparently been testing the market on previous starter Kevin Wilson, at this point it appears he will remain a Giant, at least in 2021. Wilson perhaps becomes the favorite to get the lion’s share of at bats as the DH, but the club has already previously stated it’s intention to rotate DH at bats to guys like Pablo Sandoval, Dylan Davis, and Trea Turner. So what’s the plan? The odd man out appears to be OF Dusty Lawrence. The up and comer was tabbed at one point in the offseason as the starting center fielder. It appears now he will be relegated to 4th OF duties while Toshikuni Kondo moves to LF, Tyrone Taylor back to his familiar CF, and Trea Turner at 2B. Wilson will also get some work in spring in LF. Kondo is the X factor. The Giants believe he has the athleticism and baseball acumen to settle into the OF without an issue.
Lineup Sneak Peek (*denotes new addition)
While rotation appears set, bullpen questions abound
The rotation appears set at:
However, the bullpen will be an interesting thing to watch this spring. It appears clear that high leverage opportunities will be going mainly to the foursome of:
After that, however, are a number of different and intriguing candidates. Top prospects Kevin Hunt and Chris Buckhout figure to get every opportunity to earn a spot, and then there is Rule 5 draftee Jose Porro, who figures to get a long look. Then because Hunt and Buckhout could go to AAA and be waiting in the wings as starters, there is a glut of additional relievers who will all be vying for a spot.