Sunday, April 14 2024

How Giants’ offseason roster shuffle impacts 2023 incumbents, prospects originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Giants’ 2023 MLB offseason was … unique, to say the least.

What initially shaped up to be a potentially historic winter for the franchise ended up overall disappointing — but still quite productive, given the market’s current status.

San Francisco signed a few intriguing players while clearing up major roster logjams through two necessary trades.

Here are the winners and losers in the Giants’ roster shuffle after another eventful offseason:

Young starting pitchers

The runway is cleared for takeoff. Will they take off?

By not acquiring the healthy top-of-the-rotation arm they said they were targeting, the Giants will rely on a handful of young starting pitchers throughout the first half of the 2024 MLB season while veteran right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb and newly acquired lefty Robbie Ray recover from injuries.

Kyle Harrison, Tristan Beck and Keaton Winn all will see time in the Giants’ starting rotation early this season, with Harrison likely to pitch next to staff ace Logan Webb atop the five-man group.

Jordan Hicks, whom the Giants signed to a four-year, $44 million contract this offseason, also will command one of the spots. It’s shaping up to be a very young group.

Coming off the best season of his career, Flores’ path to consistent playing time is unclear.

J.D. Davis, at least for now, is the Giants’ primary third baseman. LaMonte Wade Jr. is the primary first baseman, and newly signed slugger Jorge Soler will be the everyday designated hitter. Flores most likely will serve in a platoon with Wade at first with occasional pinch-hit appearances.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, though, it’s that Flores is inevitable. He’ll carve out a role for himself one way or another.

But for now, it’s not clear from where those at-bats will come.

The Giants also were vocal about adding shortstop depth while still giving Luciano an opportunity to win the everyday job.

No shortstop has been added to the Giants’ 26-man roster thus far, an early indication that Luciano could be the Opening Day starter, barring another move or camp development.

Luciano showed flashes of his top-prospect potential throughout 14 games with the Giants toward the end of last season. The 22-year-old impressed the coaching staff this offseason and, according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic, showed up to spring training having added 9 pounds of muscle.

Schmitt provided an immediate spark that helped turn the Giants’ 2023 season around before the team’s second-half collapse.

He batted .325 in May before struggling mightily throughout the summer. He finished on a positive note, batting .269 in the final month-plus of the season with two home runs in Game 162 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, where things stand now, there’s not a clear role for Schmitt on the roster. He’s blocked at just about every infield position, but he potentially could be an option at short should Luciano struggle. Right now, it seems like he might be better off with consistent at-bats in Triple-A, but he certainly will be an option for the Giants somewhere on the diamond at some point this season.

Barring an unforeseen move, Conforto will be the Giants’ 17th consecutive different Opening Day left fielder. After a disappointing first season in San Francisco, the 30-year-old had his first fully healthy offseason in two years and should return to an everyday role this season.

With Jung Hoo Lee in center field and Mike Yastrzemski likely splitting time with Austin Slater in right, Conforto should have left mostly to himself.

Conforto still has a lot of potential at the plate and an opportunity to be one of the Giants’ better players if healthy.

J.D. Davis

There’s one player who will determine what role Davis has this season, and it’s not Davis.

Hint: He’s not even on the roster.

The Giants have been linked to free-agent third baseman Matt Chapman all offseason, and while the standoff with agent Scott Boras could continue well into spring training, it’s not clear what role — if any — Davis will have.

He could be the team’s starting third baseman or he could be off the roster entirely. Or he could carve out a part-time role similar to Flores. Who knows at this point?

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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