SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants kept adding and adding, long after it seemed they had coverage in their rotation. Farhan Zaidi goes into every season knowing you'll likely need at least twice the five starters you begin the year with, and he kept adding depth to a group that should look quite different come August 1.
The Giants could trade Jeff Samardzija or Johnny Cueto to contenders looking for veteran rotation help. They could deal Kevin Gausman or Drew Smyly if either turns into Drew Pomeranz 2.0. They have been planning for such moves, and so it made sense to add so many potential starters.
But they also knew that every pitcher is one offering away from the nightmare scenario, and Tyler Beede is dealing with it now. Beede has a flexor strain and elbow sprain in his pitching elbow, and even if a second opinion matches the first one that surgery is not immediately needed, he will miss significant time. When he started researching similar cases on Tuesday night, Beede was drawn to Tampa Bay right-hander Tyler Glasnow, who was sidelined last summer with flexor inflammation.
Glasnow missed four months and then returned to make shortened starts for a team in the playoff race. Beede is in a slightly different situation even outside of the fact that the injuries are different. He is not yet fully built up, and a layoff would then likely be followed by a few extra weeks of rehab starts to simulate the spring he's now missing.
The Giants did not want to talk timetables on Wednesday. They know a second opinion might bring worse news, and for now, all they'll say is that Beede will start the season on the Injured List and miss significant time. They'll be without one of their most exciting young players, but also the pitcher who very likely would have opened as the fifth starter.
A day after Beede went down, manager Gabe Kapler acknowledged what a blow this is for the organization and Beede, but added, "I think it introduces some new exciting competition and I think some guys will embrace it as such."
"I think it reinforces that we're fairly deep," Kapler said of the altered rotation race. "It's not deep with established, veteran players with a lot of success, but deep with starting pitching possibilities. I think we can stay excited about that, that there are guys like Anderson and Suarez and Oaks and Cahill and Ross and Webb, to just name a few. That's not the end of it, but that's some that can be thinking about possibly starting at some point."
The last player mentioned there, Logan Webb, is the obvious answer. Webb and Beede are similar in that they showed flashes of what they're capable of last year but certainly have work to do. The only thing keeping Webb from being a sure thing for the Opening Day lineup is an innings limit after Webb missed much of last season with a suspension, but the Giants could opt to have Webb start the season in the big leagues and then limit his workload in the second half. On talent, he is their best option, and Webb has pitched on a normal schedule this spring and should be ready if he's the choice.
After that, there are two different buckets of players. Shaun Anderson, Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez would lead the pack of younger pitchers who have been in the rotation over the past two years and could slide in again. Then there's the group of veterans with big league experience, which includes Tyson Ross, Trevor Cahill, Trevor Oaks and eventually Tyler Anderson, who is rehabbing from knee surgery but is well ahead of schedule.
If the Giants don't find stability there, they could borrow an idea from the team Glasnow plays for. This is a coaching staff that likes openers and will deploy them, and the Giants could do that with their fifth slot.
There are options, as Kapler said. But there's no denying this was a big blow for a team that hoped Beede could start to establish himself as one of the rotation's building blocks.
Assessing Giants' rotation options after Tyler Beede's elbow injury originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area