Inbox: Could Sandoval be back in 2020?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers questions from fans

October 8th, 2019

What are the chances the Giants re-sign ?
-- Steven M., Petaluma, Calif.

There’s some uncertainty surrounding Sandoval, who will be coming off Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and is entering a free-agent market that isn’t as robust as it once was for veteran players. Sandoval was one of the Giants’ best hitters for much of this season and showed he can be a valuable bench piece, but perhaps he would be better suited for an American League team that could offer him the opportunity to take at-bats as a designated hitter as he continues to rehab his elbow.

That said, Sandoval feels most at home in San Francisco and has expressed a desire to return, so a reunion shouldn’t be ruled out. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has said he is interested in bringing back several of the Giants’ free agents, so I’m sure the two sides will stay in touch throughout the offseason.

How do you see fitting into the Giants’ outfield plans for 2020?
-- Charles W., Emeryville, Calif.

I think Dickerson’s role will hinge entirely on whether he is able to stay healthy enough to play consistently for the Giants next season. He showed that he’s capable of carrying the offense when he’s in the lineup, but he was also slowed by an oblique injury that seemed to hamper his production over the final two months of the season.

The Giants plan to work with Dickerson to come up with an offseason conditioning plan that they hope will give him the best opportunity to stay healthy over a full season. Dickerson should be in line for a sizable outfield role if his body holds up, but the Giants will also have to build in a contingency plan in case it doesn’t.

Which of the Giants’ current relievers have the best shots at winning bullpen jobs next spring?
-- Tim E., Millbrae, Calif.

There’s a chance that could be the only holdover from 2019 to make the Giants’ Opening Day bullpen next year, a reflection of the unusual turnover the club experienced among its relief corps this season. Closer is eligible for free agency, and will have to decide whether to exercise his $2.5 million player option for next season, so neither is guaranteed to return. , meanwhile, will be out until next summer as he recovers from right shoulder surgery.

Gott finished the season on the injured list and underwent groin surgery last month, but he is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Barring any setbacks, he seems like a solid bet to reprise his role with the Giants in 2020. , and seemed to help their own causes in the second half of this season, but I think they’ll have to continue to pitch well during Spring Training to win jobs. also looked impressive out of the bullpen in September, so he could also be a back-end option if the Giants decide to convert him to a full-time relief role.

When could we realistically see Joey Bart in the Majors?
-- Susie B., San Jose, Calif.

Bart, the Giants' No. 1 prospect (per MLB Pipeline), finished the season at Double-A Richmond and has emerged as one of the standout players at the Arizona Fall League, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he were up with the Giants by mid-2020. The Dodgers have aggressively promoted many of their top prospects and haven’t been afraid to entrust rookies with starting roles, so it seems likely that Zaidi will maintain a similar philosophy with the Giants.