5 San Francisco Giants Who Won’t Make it Through 2014 Spring Training
San Francisco Giants Look to Form a Championship Team in Spring Training
Over the last few years the San Francisco Giants have been locked in a never ending cycle of winning the World Series and then faltering to the middle of the pack in the NL West in a two year period. This trend first started when the Giants became world Series champions in 2010 and were then left out of the playoffs in 2011, and it has repeated itself again over the last two years. Of course, that makes 2014 a lock for the organization to be 2014 World Series Champions -- or at least on paper it does.
In order to make trends of recent years repeat themselves, Giants manager Bruce Bochy will have to get things going in the right direction beginning with the kick off of Spring Training. This will obviously entail making sure key stalwarts such as Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval are healthy and rearing to go with a Mar. 31 opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But what also has to be done by Bochy is that a plethora of role players and bullpen arms need to be chosen from a rather long list of potential candidates. This will undoubtedly seem like a trivial piece of work for the Giants organization to some fans, but it will surely be the difference in having a chance to compete with Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West title and simply fighting to make it over the .500 mark.
With this race to choose the right pieces for the Giants' 25-man opening day roster in mind, I have formed a list of the five players that simply have no chance of making it out of Spring Training. Each of these players is a lock to go to Cactus League play in March, but they are either too young or lacking in talent to truly make an impact at the MLB level so they will be sent to AAA or their homes by Bochy.
5. David Huff
David Huff was recently sent to the Giants from the New York Yankees in exchange for cash, but this was by no means a guarantee he will be playing in MLB in 2014. At best Huff is a fifth starter -- as his 21-27 career record with a 5.32 ERA shows -- and he has no chance of cracking a Giants rotation that boasts Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong. Additionally, any chance of being a lefty specialist is quashed by the presence of Javier Lopez in the bullpen, and by extension a ticket to AAA has been booked.
4. Erik Cordier
Erik Cordier will enter Spring Training as an intriguing option as his repertoire of a mid-90s fastball and a sharp slider make him an arm to watch. Unfortunately, Cordier has never been remotely consistent at the minor league level, and he has never thrown a pitch at the MLB level. With reliable arms such as George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla and Jean Machi on the books, it will take a month for the record books for Cordier to go to opening day with the Giants.
3. Angel Villalona
After taking three years off of minor league baseball in the U.S. from 2010 to 2012 because of a murder charge in the Dominican Republic, Angel Villalona finally returned to baseball in 2013. Villalona displayed the big and powerful bat that he was previously known for in 2013, but he topped out in AA and put up a stat-line of .231/.276/.425 that indicates more seasoning is needed at the minor league level. With Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval clogging up first and third base in San Francisco, it can be assured the 23-year-old will be afforded all the time he needs to develops.
2. Nick Noonan
Nick Noonan will head into Spring Training looking to earn a spot as a utility man, but it is extremely unlikely this will actually happen. In 2013 Noonan did secure this role, although his offensive line of .219/.261/.238 in 62 games was brutal at best. Heading into 2014, it is likely that Bochy will again turn to a defensive stalwart as a utility man, but he will end up turning to Joaquin Arias and Tony Abreu as options who can also bring some pop to the plate.
1. Michael Morse
Michael Morse may be the most surprising name on this list, but after watching him play in 2013 it is clear a spot on any MLB roster in 2014 is not warranted. In 2013 Morse split time with the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles, picking up a .215/.270/.381 that only looks worse when you consider his -6.6 career defensive WAR. Expect Bochy to realize this defensive deficiency in Spring Training and make Morse the surprise cut of the spring.