San Francisco Giants: 2019 is Up in the Air

MESA, ARIZONA - MARCH 21: Brandon Belt #9 and Steven Duggar #6 of the San Francisco Giants are congratulated after Belt hit a two run home run during the spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park on March 21, 2019 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
MESA, ARIZONA - MARCH 21: Brandon Belt #9 and Steven Duggar #6 of the San Francisco Giants are congratulated after Belt hit a two run home run during the spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park on March 21, 2019 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

Baseball is back as the San Francisco Giants get underway in San Diego with an outlook in which could be fruitful or completely see a different lineup in September.

The San Francisco Giants made a valiant effort to sign Bryce Harper to provide some optimism of a return to the postseason. Harper chose Philadelphia, a team on the rise with a solid lineup ready to contend.

Not to add more salt to the wounds but the thought of Mike Trout being a free agent in a few years was likely the next target for the Giants. Unfortunately, he owns the largest contract in MLB history after agreeing to an extension with the Angels. With most big-name free agents in the past, runner up for Trout likely would happen for the Giants.

Now, fans have to ponder the various additions and subtractions new president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi, made to find some optimism the Giants will compete. With the current roster set, here is a look at a few critical players for the Giants to maintain pace in the NL West.

San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants /

San Francisco Giants


No need to worry about Johnny Cueto as Tommy John surgery shelves the right-handed bust for the majority of the season. The starting rotation will likely change throughout the year with players eligible to go back and forth between the Giants and the minor leagues.

Jeff Samardzija appears healthy and hopefully can stay in the rotation the entire season. The high-risk high-reward right-hander can either impress or get lit up by hitters. His last start did not look promising after only three innings of work in the exhibition game against Oakland.

Madison Bumgarner will get the opening day start and looks to remain healthy for a full campaign. Injuries the past two years have seen the left-hander’s dominance decline with a drop in his velocity and command of his pitches.

Dereck Rodriguez was a dependable addition after getting promoted to the Giants. Expect the young arm to be a mainstay in San Francisco and build off a strong season. Do not expect Rodriguez to be sent down as his spot in the rotation is a lock.

Drew Pomeranz is an intriguing case after missing time from an injury. His performance from spring training suggests he can provide quality starts. He is a type of pitcher Zaidi targets, and Pomeranz could be an example to show Giants’ management and fans his plan will work under his tenure.

Expect Tyler Beede to get another crack in the starting rotation. Given the influx of pitchers, Beede’s future in the organization will come down to his starts on the mound. Last season, the command came to the forefront as his mistakes resulted in runs and a demotion. The improvement came after a decent camp, but Beede got optioned and must continue to pitch solidly.

Bold take: Bumgarner will not finish the season in a Giants uniform. Teams will inquire about the pitcher, and he will likely find himself on a team contending for a championship.


Mark Melancon is not living up to the promise of being shut down closer. The Giants made an impulse buy on the reliever after not taking full consideration of a prior shoulder injury. Melancon had a rough spring training and could be one contract the Giants will have to absorb and trade away.

Trevor Gott came late into camp and now finds himself on the opening roster. He, along with Sam Dyson and Tony Watson, will eat up the middle innings and potentially set up the closer which is still in question.

Melancon and Will Smith are the candidates to get the closing duties although both struggled in the role.

Bold take: Ray Black will become the Giants’ closer.

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After acquiring Evan Longoria last offseason, the Giants solidified as boasting one of the best defensive infields. The infield looks stable once again and staying healthy is crucial for the team to remain successful fielding.

Joe Panik battled injuries and the second baseman is in make or break year with the Giants after signing a take it or leave it to offer. A mindset of playing with something to prove should be plenty of motivation for Panik to regain his form.

Alen Hanson will undoubtedly see more playing time alongside recently added Connor Joe who can play multiple positions. Pablo Sandoval will see little action after the addition of Joe after being reluctantly put on the 25-man roster.

Bold takes: Brandon Belt gets traded before the trade deadline. Sandoval will not be on the Giants by the time All-Star weekend occurs.


A carousel of outfielders will be occupying the positions after missing out on Harper put the outfield in limbo. Mac Williamson and Steve Duggar are likely to get consistent time with the third spot interchanging. Austin Slater will arrive back in San Francisco at some point. As of now, Michael Reed may be the new name to get acquainted with in the outfield.


New hips are a trend as Buster Posey appears at full strength and ready to resume duties as the everyday catcher. Nick Hundley left to go across the bay to the Athletics with Erik Kratz now taking the backup position.

The Kratz addition was an excellent move by Zaidi to provide veteran leadership behind the plate. Aramis Garcia made a good impression after Posey went out last year and may get another look at the end of the season.

Bold take: Joey Bart will not be in a Giants uniform this season.

Overall, this team is in question both offensively and defensively. The Giants sat at the bottom in runs scored and appears the trend will continue. The starting pitching must improve and provide a reliable closer not to throw games away.

Unless the Giants can muster any magic that produced three championships, the outlook for 2019 is grim. A shiny new scoreboard in center field and having to adjust in calling the Giants’ home Oracle Park, are probably the only exciting additions at the moment.

Next. That Time Ichiro Made History at AT&T Park. dark

In the final season of Bruce Bochy as manager, perhaps the Giants will go all-out and surprise teams. Maybe, just maybe, the tandem of Zaidi and Bochy will click and get fans wanting to come to the ballpark.