It’s 123 days until Opening Day. Well, technically it’s 124 days if you don’t count the three games before “actual” Opening Day which starts Monday April 3rd. However, if you’re a San Francisco Giants fan then it totally counts.
Sunday, April 2nd, will consist of three games to start the 2017 season and the Giants are one of those games, facing off against the Arizona Diamondbacks down in Phoenixland. The Giants will be coming into their first odd year since 2009 without being the reigning World Champs. It’ll be a palate cleanser start and one for a team that’ll be looking to reclaim a throne they so desperately want.
With this new season will also come some change for the Giants. A slew of players hit free agency in the off season and a couple of the starting spots will be filled with some new faces. Those new faces will be joining a team that has been consistent with its starting lineup. Here’s a look at who could be likely in each starting spot on Opening Day. Some will be more certain than others.
Prediction: Madison Bumgarner
Certainty: Pretty much guaranteed
Since 2014 Madison Bumgarner has been the opening day starter because of course he’d be. Ace of the Giants pitching staff and all around beautiful mountain man, Bumgarner has proven his worth at the top of the rotation. Barring any serious injury it’s a no-brainer that he would be taking the opening spot again.
Prediction: Gerald Dempsey “Buster” Posey III
Certainty: Is this even a question?
Again, like Bumgarner, Buster Posey will be in the Opening Day lineup. It’s a dumb to even assume he wouldn’t be. Shame on you! Coming off a year where he won his first ever Gold Glove, Posey will, as long as he’s able too, be our starting catcher. He’s quickly earned himself the title of one of the best catchers in the game.
Prediction: Long neck Brandon
Certainty: Do the Giants even have another first basemen? (please refer to Buster Posey’s book on “Being a Part Time First Basemen”)
Brandon Belt has been the Giants’ starting 1st Baseman since 2011. He’s pretty much staying in the spot until 2022 when he hits free agency. Hes coming off the best year of his Major League career and he was an All Star. There’s really no one else for the job in the organization. That’s probably why the Giants locked him up.
Prediction: Joe Panik
Certainty: Actually more nervous about this one that I would like.
Joe. Panik. This one is kinda weird. On one hand its a duh doi kind of response. He’s our second basemen, he’s a gold glover, he has proven his worth in the short time hes been here. Panik is a gem to have and all those reasons might be why he won’t be there next year. Of course pure speculation but if the Giants are looking to trade for anyone, be it an outfielder or pitcher, someone will have to go.
Prospects could do the job but no one wants the farm system barren. Selling high on a good second basemen with excellent defense could be the Giants ticket to a great pickup. A majority of the starting position players have lengthy contracts so they’re fine. Panik doesn’t so he could very well be expendable in a trade which would certainly leave a gaping whole in the fan base. Of course pure speculation. Scary speculation.
Prediction: Long haired Brandon
Certainty: Two thumbs way, way up
Brandon Crawford is the best shortstop in the National League. There its been said. Corey Seager who? He’s got 2 Gold Gloves, both in the last two years and he’s been the Giants starting shortstop the last 5 years. Brandon Crawford is such a perfect fit for the Giants its almost hard to imagine him being somewhere else. Thankfully that wont be until 2022.
Prediction: Eduardo Nunez?
Eduardo Nunez was traded to the Giants in from 2016 the Minnesota Twins. He replaced Matt Duffy who was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitcher Matt Moore. Nunez was an All Star for the Twins. For the Giants, however, he was more of an above average body to plug the 3rd base hole after Duffy was out a chunk of the season. He ultimately was streaky for the Giants in the stretch towards the end of the season and then ended up hurt.
Another option could be Conor Gillaspie, who played 3rd occasionally through out the year and then shined in his postseason at bats. There was even talks of reuniting with former 3rd basemen Pablo Sandoval. Those talks have since been retracted but it begs the question. What’s going on at 3rd that options are being discussed? Best guess at the moment is Eduardo Nunez will be there on April 2nd with hopes to have a good season with the Giants.
Certainty: 66% or maybe 2/3 of those are for certain. *Cough* Dexter Fowler *Cough*
Hunter Pence will be in right. Of course he has been more injury prone lately so there could be a possibility that he could be out on injury. Again. Barring anything like that, then he’ll definitely be out in right on April 2nd. Center field seems locked up for Denard Span who is coming off his first year with the Giants, replacing Angel Pagan as the starting center fielder, thus moving Pagan to left field. There in lies a big issue this off season for the Giants. Who is going to be in left field if Pagan signs elsewhere? Pagan is getting older so the Giants are less likely to keep around a outfielder who has been on the disabled list a multitude of times in the past few seasons.
Left Field has also been a revolving door of people since Barry Bonds left, and the Giants will probably want someone there for the long haul. Rumors are swirling that the Giants are looking to either sign a big name outfielder or looking to trade for one. Yoenis Cespedes was supposedly on the short list for signing with the Giants until he resigned with the New York Mets. Other names out there are Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo. There was even talks about the Detroit Tigers trading J.D Martinez to us.
One name that could be a perfect fit for the Giants is one Dexter Fowler. Coming off a World Series winning year with the Chicago Cubs, Fowler could be great addition to the outfield. He gets hits, he’s younger than Pagan by 5 years and he’s played in the NL West before with the Colorado Rockies for most of his career. He could be the solution that Giants desperately need in that left field corner. Of course there is one problem. Fowler is a center fielder so it could prove troublesome trying to move him there. One solution could be to switch him to center but then that would force Span over and who knows how that would work? One things for certain is left field will be a key area this off season.