Giants wheeling, dealing as Opening Day nears
The Giants’ roster continued to come into focus on Saturday, as two more players learned that they would not be breaking camp with the club, while a newcomer was brought in to potentially fill a pressing need.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants’ roster continued to come into focus on Saturday, as two more players learned that they would not be breaking camp with the club, while a newcomer was brought in to potentially fill a pressing need.
The Giants released catcher Rene Rivera and traded outfielder Matt Joyce to the Braves in exchange for cash considerations. They subsequently restored some outfield depth by acquiring Michael Reed from the Twins in exchange for outfielder John Andreoli and cash considerations.
Left-hander Steven Okert was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Reed, who will report to the Major League club.
The flurry of moves left 32 players in big league camp as the Giants departed Arizona following their 3-2 win over the D-backs in their Cactus League finale at Scottsdale Stadium. Non-roster invitees Yangervis Solarte, Gerardo Parra and Nick Vincent were informed Friday that they’ve made the team, but the Giants have held off on making any other official announcements regarding roles that were up for grabs this spring.
“You’re seeing a lot of transactions right now, so I can’t say anything because I don’t know what’s going to happen the next two or three days,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I think we’ll wait and see once we get through the Bay [Bridge] Series.”
The Giants’ decision to cut Rivera will likely clear the way for rookie Aramis Garcia to open the season as Buster Posey’s backup. Rivera, who came into camp as a non-roster invitee, enjoyed a solid spring, batting .258 over 14 games, but unlike Garcia, he can’t be optioned and would have forced the Giants to clear another spot on the 40-man roster.
“We talked about his situation, and he just decided it was time to get his release,” Bochy said. “That’s all I can tell you. It was a mutual deal. He had a nice spring, did a great job. I like Rene a lot. I talked to him this morning on the phone. But he elected to look elsewhere.”
The Giants also have another veteran option in Stephen Vogt, who will begin the season in Triple-A Sacramento as he works his way back from shoulder surgery. Vogt will remain in Arizona and continue to play in Minor League games while the rest of the team heads back to the Bay Area for the final exhibition series against the A’s.
Reed, 26, is a right-handed hitter who could back up Steven Duggar in center field and has a career .382 on-base percentage in the Minors. A fifth-round Draft pick of the Brewers in 2011, Reed has batted .229 with a .527 OPS in 22 Major League games.
“I haven’t had a chance to spend a lot time with our scouting reports,” Bochy said. “I do know he’s a right-handed bat that can play all three outfield positions. He gives us some coverage in center field. Good athlete. He has nice discipline at the plate. He’s more of a gap-type hitter.”
Okert was unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, as Rule 5 Draft pick Travis Bergen appeared to be ahead of him in the battle to be the third left-hander in the bullpen, behind Will Smith and Tony Watson.
Panda on the bubble?
Pablo Sandoval continued to make his case for a spot on the roster, going 2-for-2 from the right side on Saturday to raise his batting average to .262 this spring. A switch-hitter, Sandoval has historically been better from the left side over his career, but he’s been crushing lefties this spring and ripped a double to left field off the D-backs’ Robbie Ray in the second inning.
“Hasn’t he swung well? He really has,” Bochy said. “Off one of the best left-handers in the game, I’ll say. Two quality ABs.”
Sandoval said he hasn’t felt this good swinging from the right side since 2009, when he batted .379 with a 1.028 OPS. Sandoval’s future with the Giants is a bit unclear, as they may not have room for him on their bench if they want to keep Rule 5 Draft pick Connor Joe and Alen Hanson, who is out of options and helped his cause with a home run off Archie Bradley on Saturday.