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Giants have these roster questions to sort out

@mi_guardado
March 17, 2020

The Giants are facing more questions than answers now that baseball operations have ceased in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The start of the 2020 regular season is postponed indefinitely, delaying the resolution of a few position battles San Francisco was hoping to sort out this spring. Here’s a look

The Giants are facing more questions than answers now that baseball operations have ceased in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The start of the 2020 regular season is postponed indefinitely, delaying the resolution of a few position battles San Francisco was hoping to sort out this spring.

Here’s a look at where three of those competitions stood before Spring Training was suspended last week:

Second base
The biggest question here is whether non-roster invitee Yolmer Sánchez will show enough to win a spot on the Opening Day roster. Sánchez is an elite defender who won the American League Gold Glove Award at second base last year, but his offense diminished over the last two seasons, prompting the White Sox to non-tender him in December. A switch-hitter, Sánchez was working on some swing changes that he hoped would help him unlock something at the plate, but he endured a slow start to Cactus League play, going 3-for-26 (.115) with zero extra-base hits over 10 games.

Wilmer Flores and Mauricio Dubón are already expected to form a big part of the Giants’ mix at second base, though more playing time could open up if Dubón is regularly deployed in center field or other spots around the infield. Donovan Solano has a Minor League option remaining, but he enjoyed a strong showing in Cactus League action and likely has an edge over Sánchez at this point.

Backup catcher
The right hip injury to Aramis Garcia left non-roster invitees Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman as the two front-runners to back up Buster Posey. Neither Brantly nor Heineman hit much over the first stretch of exhibition play, but Brantly is a bit more experienced and emerged as a solid defender in camp, which could give him a leg up in the competition. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi also hasn’t ruled out looking externally for another backup catcher option. He pulled off a similar move last year, sending Minor League infielder C.J. Hinojosa to the Brewers in exchange for veteran Erik Kratz in the final week of Spring Training.

Bullpen
The Giants opened Spring Training with a wide-open bullpen competition, though they seemed to gain some degree of clarity over the first four weeks of camp. Veteran Tony Watson was slowed by a bout of left shoulder tightness, but he will likely benefit from the delayed start to the season and should be ready to go once baseball resumes. Trevor Gott is out of options, so he’s a virtual lock for the bullpen and could be a candidate to replace Will Smith as closer.

Tyler Rogers doesn’t have much big league experience, but he continued to baffle hitters this spring and showed that he deserves to be a part of the relief corps as well. Lefty Jarlín García is also out of options and posted even splits with the Marlins last season, a skill that will take on increased value in the age of the three-batter minimum. He seems like a solid bet to open the year with San Francisco, along with Dany Jiménez, a Rule 5 Draft pick who will have to be returned to Toronto if he isn’t kept on the 26-man roster for the entire season. Non-roster invitee Trevor Cahill is a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, but he could also be a good fit out of the bullpen as a multi-inning reliever. Plenty of other pitchers remain on the bubble, including Wandy Peralta, Jerry Blevins, Nick Vincent, Sam Coonrod, Andrew Triggs and Tyson Ross.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.