If the Giants go with 12 pitchers, that means 13 position players. Ten are easy: Brandon Belt (1B), Marco Scutaro (2B), Brandon Crawford (SS), Pablo Sandoval (3B), Buster Posey (C), Mike Morse (LF), Angel Pagan (CF), Hunter Pence (RF), Gregor Blanco (OF), and Hector Sanchez (C). That means three spots for the backups. Veterans Joaquin Arias and Tony Abreu seem the most likely to be picked and that suggests to me a fifth outfielder (like Juan Perez*) for the final spot. Ehire Adrianza, Nick Noonan, and Roger Kieschnick will wait in the wings under this scheme. Brett Pill looks like the odd man out. I suppose Adrianza, being a true shortstop, might have an inside track to displace either of the older utility guys. He'll turn 25 in August, and has eight seasons and 708 minor-league games under his belt. If not 2014, then when?
Twelve pitchers also means only three spots up for grabs. The starting rotation (Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, and Ryan Vogelsong) is set, and the lefty-lefty righty-righty four-headed beast (Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Sergio Romo) is in place as well. Jean Machi, George Kontos, Yusmeiro Petit, Eric Surkamp, Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar, Jake Dunning, and Mike Kickham are all on the 40-man roster along with Erik Cordier, Jose De Paula, Kendry Flores, and Hunter Strickland. The Giants are supposedly still looking for bullpen help, so it will be a battle royal for a seat at the table.
I think the Giants need another lefty. Last year it was Jose Mijares, but he's been cut loose. Escobar, De Paula, Surkamp, and Kickham are all southpaws, but all have been starters in their careers. Escobar and De Paula are too young, and Surkamp and Kickham have yet to impress in their short stints. I don't think a reliever is coming from that bunch. Perhaps that's what the Giants will pick up between now and Spring Training. For the other spots, the experienced Petit is hard to ignore for long relief and occasional starts. Machi had much better results last year than Kontos--both were in similar roles and faced about the same number of hitters. If two of those three are named and the Giants scoop up a lefty that leaves the much-hyped Hembree and the promising Dunning still on the outside looking in. Should be interesting. Considering how much of the team is set, there's still a lot that needs to be figured out.
What does your 25-man roster look like?
*that's Juan Carlos Perez not Juan Pablo Perez