Sunday, October 16, 2016

State of the Giants 2016-2017: The MLB Roster

The Giants continue to have a healthy core of players at the MLB level, a group that has gradually grown since 2010 with a healthy rate of turnover to younger players.  The team's core really formed in 2010 as a series of high draft picks arrived in the majors in quick succession to join Matt Cain who had arrived a few years earlier.  That core of Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Brian Wilson is now Posey, Bumgarner, Pence, Crawford, Belt, Cueto, Samardzijia, Matt Moore and Joe Panik.  As members of the core have aged or gotten injured, new ones have been acquired through trades, FA signings and farm system graduations.  The challenge for the Giants going forward is to keep adding as the current group inevitably ages and sees a decline in production.  Here is a summery of the complete roster(the numbers after the names include Age, 2017 Salary, AAV, Years left on contract- based on Cot's Baseball Contracts website):


Buster Posey C:  30 yo, $21.4 M, 18.6 M, 5 years(2022 option with $3 M buyout).
Hunter Pence OF:  34 yo, $18.5 M, $18 M, 2 years.
Brandon Crawford SS:  30 yo, $8 M, $12.5 M, 5 years.
Brandon Belt 1B:  29 yo, $2.8 M, $14.7 M, 5 years.
Joe Panik 2B:  26 yo, League Minimum, arbitration eligible 2018, FA eligible 2021.
Madison Bumgarner SP:  27 yo, $11.5 M, $7 M, 1 year + 2 team friendly options through 2019.
Johnny Cueto SP:  31 yo, $21 M, 21.7 M, 5 years(player opt out after 2017).
Jeff Samardzija SP: 32 yo, $18 M, $18 M, 4 years.
Matt Moore SP:  28 yo, $7 M, $7 M, 3 team friendly options through 2019.


Denard Span OF:  33 yo, $9 M, $10.3 M, 2 years(mutual option for 2019).
Eduardo Nunez IF:  30 yo, MLBTR estimated arbitration award $4.4 M, FA eligible 2018.


Matt Cain SP:  32 yo, $20 M, $21.25 M, 1 years($7.5 M buyout for 2018).
Ty Blach SP:  League minimum-ROY eligible.
Chris Heston SP:  29 YO(60 day DL)  League minimum(Likely to be released)


Conor Gillaspie 3B/1B:  29 yo, MLBTR Estimated Arbitration Salary- $900 K.
Mac Williamson OF(60 day DL):  27 yo, league minimum.
Jarrett Parker OF:  28 yo, league minimum.
Gorkys Hernandez OF:  29 yo, league minimum.
Ehire Adrianza IF:  27 yo.  MLBTR Estimated Arbitration Salary- $500+ K.
Kelby Tomlinson IF:  26 yo.  League Minimum.
Trevor Brown C:  25 yo.  League Minimum.
Tony Sanchez C:  29 yo.  Arbitration Eligible?(could be released).


Cory Gearrin RHP:  31 yo.  MLBTR Estimated Arbitration Salary- $1.1 M).
George Kontos RHP:  32 yo. MLBTR Estimated Arbitration Salary- $1.7 M)
Derek Law RHP:  26 yo.  League Minimum.
Steven Okert LHP:  25 yo. League Minimum.
Josh Osich LHP:  28 yo. League Minimum.
Will Smith LHP:  28 yo.  MLBTR Estimated Arbitration Salary- $2.3 M.
Hunter Strickland RHP:  28 yo.  League Minimum.
Albert Suarez RHP:  League Minimum.

FREE AGENTS(with 2016 Salary and AAV):

Santiago Casilla RHP:  $6.5 M/$6.5 M
Javier Lopez LHP:  $5 M/$4.3 M
Sergio Romo RHP:  $8 M/$7.5 M
Jake Peavy RHP:  $13 M/$12 M
Joe Nathan RHP: $500 K/$500 K(Cots has him listed for a $1.2 M club option)(doubt option gets picked up).
Angel Pagan OF:  $10 M/$10 M.
Gregor Blanco OF:  $3.9 M/3.75 M
Gordon Beckham IF:  Beckham made $1.25 M last year but was only on the Giants roster for a few days.

I do not expect the Giants to re-sign any of these FA's except maybe Beckham if they can get him on a minor league deal.  I just don't see a spot on the 25 man roster for Beckham unless they think he can play SS.


Clayton Blackburn RHP:  24 yo.
Kyle Crick RHP:  24 yo.
Joan Gregorio RHP:  25 yo.
Chris Stratton RHP:  26 yo.
Ray Black RHP:  26 yo(60 day DL).


The Giants have $135 M in Salary commitments to a total of 10 players with longterm contracts($149 M in AAV for Luxury Tax purposes).  They have an additional 6 players who are Arbitration Eligible with a total of $10.9 M in MLBTR Estimated Arbitration Salaries.  I expect the Giants to tender contracts to all 6. The remaining 9 25-man active roster spots would be filled with League Minimum salaries for a total of approximately $4.5 M.  League Minimum salaries and Luxury Tax cap could change with the new Basic Agreement expected to be signed at the end of the postseason.

With the only major position, Closer, that must be filled by FA or trade, the Giants should have plenty of room to make a very large offer or take on a large contract via trade and still be well under the Luxury Tax threshold even if it does not rise as expected in the new Basic Agreement.  With 7 expected departing FA's and several other marginal players on the 40 man roster, there should be no problem adding whatever prospects the Giants feel need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft(which I hope will go away in the new Basic Agreement, but probably won't).


  1. Thanks Dr. B.- Out of the relievers that stay, do you see any of those guys that could step into the closer role? I dislike the thought of having to break the bank to hire a closer. Past failures include the likes of Armando Benitez-don't want to see a repeat of that. I do like Derek Law-do you think he has the stuff and make-up to be the closer?

    1. I think Derek Law, Hunter Strickland and Will Smith all could be closers, but after this seasons debacle in the bullpen, I don't think the Giants should or will trust anyone currently on the roster to take that job. They need to add a frontline closer this offseason. That is their one and really only offseason task.

  2. Missing TyllerBeede as prospect? Gordon Beckham is possible re-sign as free agent

    1. I should have clarified. The listed prospects are only those currently on the 40 man roster.

    2. Yeah, Beckham was an oversight. I know one of the beat writers wrote that the Giants really like Beckham and he was a breath of fresh air in a clubhouse that had gotten a bit stale. I just don't see where Beckham would fit on the 25 man active roster unless the Giants think he can play an acceptable backup SS. If they keep Gillaspie as a reserve, then the other reserve IF has to be able to fill in at SS unless they go with just 1 reserve OF, but that would leave one of Hernandez, Williamson or Parker as the odd man out IF they don't add a starting LF in the offseason.

  3. I'm really happy with most of the roster going forward. 5th starter. Closer. Maybe upgrade a little depth. Other than that, good to go.

  4. Great report on the roster. The prospect section is just the players they are protecting from the Rule 5 draft, right? Buster is going to be thirty years old before the season starts. Wow! That one crept up on me. That's a good core of players the Giants have for a few more seasons. Especially since they are a couple of seasons away from their last World Series win. Usually teams have much shorter windows to be competitive for championships, so thats a big testament to the ownership and front office.

    1. Sorry, I should have been more clear. The prospects listed are just those currently on the 40 man major league roster.

    2. Giants have about 2-3 years left in the window with the current core. They will have a lot starting players hitting their mid-30's all about the same time right around the end of the decade. The challenge will be to keep renewing the core without destroying it. I think they are set up well to do that but it's easier said than done.

  5. Good summary. Closer seems obvious, then you can build a traditional hierarchy that was obviously lacking. The telling thing to me nosing around all the post-mortums is that Bochy never has discussed his pen this much in all his years managing. It appears not going for MM from the Pirates was a big time mistake, I am curious what it would have taken to beat Taylor Hearn and Felipe Rivero... I'm sure the price was significant though.

    I'm glad they axed the coaches, especially Kelly. He looked very overmatched.

    A true leadoff guy who could run - rare as hen's teeth - would be a great second add. Span looked good in small stretches but wore down. I do think the clubhouse will be happy to have Pagan gone, just too many small injuries all the time.

    Thinking big, the Pirates may try to move McCutchen as he gets old and nears the end of his contract. That's a long shot, but they have the financial flex to make it happen.

    The main issue all year was the pen though. Injuries happen, it wasn't good to have Pence and Panik out, but that happens to every team. If Shark can tweak his delivery again to be the 1st half guy, Moore cuts down on walks, the Giants have a 1-4 that is very favorable. They also have a young core still of experienced excellent defensive hitters. A closer, a table setter and a new Loogy would be a nice offseason.

    1. Doesn't the current Giants hen have a very possible tooth (= fast lead-off man, as per Shankbone) in Nunez. He stole 40 bases this year and needs to be trained to swing less and walk more so as to boost his OBP--he doubled his walk rate when he joined the Giants, but still not enough. As for table setters, Smith and Law seem pretty formidable to me, and Okert quite possibly a LOOGY more versatile than Lopez.

    2. I think by this time Nunez pretty much is who he is. OBP is much more important from a leadoff hitter than SB's and .325 from a .288 BA is just not going to cut it.

    3. Maybe; but then, none of the lead-off men for the Giants have cut it since Beltran opined that that's what the team really needed. Witness Pagan's record of .338, .334, .342, .303, and .331 as a Giant, and Span's .331. These numbers are above Nunez's .327 as a Giant, but mostly negligibly so. N had a rocky start at the plate with the Giants, when one focus of his must have been his fielding, because his Defensive fWAR went from negative numbers when he came to us to 2.7 by the end of the year. That itself hints that Nunez may very well not be "pretty much . . . who he is," both in his capacity to learn and in his ability to adapt to new roles.

      The role of lead-off man isn't the one he mostly had with the Giants, and he would have to grow into it as he grew into that of a regular third baseman and, as the year wore on, into that of a threat at the plate, such as he had been with Minnesota. He would have to raise his OBP by .025 or .030 to be ahead of Span and Pagan, and with his fielding more in hand so that he can focus on hitting in the NL West as well as he did in the AL Central during 2016, that doesn't seem to me so unlikely.

      Yes, of course OBP outweighs SBs wherever one hits in the lineup. My point in mentioning the steals is that Nunez is fast and smart on the basepaths, as someone who steals 40 bases a year must be; and that therefore he fits the mold that Shankbone advanced as a Giants need or Want.

    4. Fielding metrics are notoriously unstable in small sample sizes as opposed to, say, walk rates. Go look up Nunez' walk rates on his Fangraphs stat page and I think you will see why he won't ever be a leadoff hitter.

    5. Span's career OBP= .350. Nunez' career OBP= .314.

    6. When both players are in the lineup, Span should be the leadoff hitter.

    7. As for Kelly, most of the fan base THINKS he was lost out there, so he make a very convenient fall guy. Statistically, the Giants ranked 11'th in MLB in runners scoring from 2B on a single, 2'nd in going from first to 3'rd on a single and 2'nd in scoring on doubles. They also ranked very low in getting thrown out at home. Kelly must have been doing something right out there.

    8. I thought Nunez was a good get as far as cost, but he didn't do much to impress once he was here, including getting thrown out at 3B several times in crucial situations (apparently a mix up with Kelly on 1 - Bochy was mad enough to not cover for Kelly in that one). Giants had 3 hitters over 350 in OBP - Belt and Posey obviously and Pence (don't know how that happened despite swinging at every outside slider he saw) (I love Hunter Pence, but man the hot/cold!). Leadoff definitely has to be over 350 to really stand out. Hey its always been a struggle for Los Gigantes.

      I'm OK with him being the fall guy, my lying eyes tells me he was lost out there. The Giants were 28-27 in 1 run games this year, scored 175 against 174. A more aggressive 3B coach could tilt that balance. Maybe Flannery being with Bochy all these years was the advantage Bochy needed for his outstanding career record in 1 run games. Giants stole 79 bases against 36 CS. That is a low number and a low percentage. That might be more on Hayes than Kelly. Overall Kelly was far too conservative and hesitant for my tastes.