Giants' Opening Day roster includes surprises, notable omissions

Giants' Opening Day roster includes surprises, notable omissions originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN DIEGO -- While the Opening Day roster still is a big deal to players, their families, and fans, front offices spend this week protecting those already on the 40-man roster as much as they can, while also trying to be opportunistic as cuts are made elsewhere. After a busy offseason and spring full of additions, the Giants found themselves in an even tighter spot than usual.

That led to some surprising moves when San Francisco's full roster was released on Thursday morning.

Joey Bart is in after an offseason of trade rumors and a spring where he didn't appear to have a path. Marco Luciano and Luis Matos are out, at least for now. Here's a breakdown of what the initial roster looks like and why the Giants did some of what they did:


Back in 2019, the Giants made a flurry of catching moves at the end of camp, releasing Rene Rivera, claiming Tom Murphy and trading for Erik Kratz. Murphy was soon a Seattle Mariner, as Kratz became the backup catcher early in the year, but Farhan Zaidi never forgot about the right-handed hitter who provides intriguing pop.

Murphy hit 18 homers that season for the Mariners and the Giants signed him to a two-year deal this offseason to back up Patrick Bailey. That pairing was set all spring, but San Francisco carried Bart as a third catcher on Thursday morning.

Bart is out of options and they apparently are hopeful they can sneak him through waivers if they DFA him a few days into the season, when rosters are already set. It's a calculated gamble, and might not pay off since several teams have had a close eye on the former first-rounder this spring. But it's worth a shot.


The right side returns intact, with Wilmer Flores and LaMonte Wade Jr. platooning at first base and Thairo Estrada making a third consecutive Opening Day start at second base. But there are huge changes on the other side of the diamond.

Matt Chapman brings a Platinum Glove to third and he'll be joined by Nick Ahmed, who won a job pretty quickly after signing a minor league deal in the spring. Tyler Fitzgerald rounds things out, with the ability to play all four infield spots as well as center field.

The omission here was Luciano, the organization's best position-player prospect. He came on strong over the final few days of the spring, but a rough start opened the door for Ahmed, and for now, the Giants will prioritize defense and go with the veteran.


This group will undergo a change on Friday. Mike Yastrzemski's wife, Paige, is going to be induced and the starting right fielder is going on the paternity list. That could open the door for Matos, who had a huge spring but couldn't unseat any of the veterans.

Jung Hoo Lee is the everyday starter in center and atop the lineup against both righties and lefties. Yastrzemski will start in right with Michael Conforto in left. Austin Slater is back as a lefty-masher and pinch-hit expert, and Jorge Soler is ready to be the everyday DH.


This could be the National League's best rotation in the second half, when Robbie Ray returns from Tommy John surgery. It should be pretty imposing by the end of April, too, as Blake Snell and Alex Cobb will join at some point in the coming weeks. Cobb is weeks ahead of schedule in his return from hip surgery and Snell is a bit behind after waiting most of the spring for an acceptable contract.

For now, it's Logan Webb, Kyle Harrison, Jordan Hicks, Keaton Winn and some mystery. It's notable that Snell is on the Opening Day roster instead of starting the season on the phantom IL, and he could make his Giants debut as soon as Wednesday in Los Angeles. Snell is scheduled to throw in a minor league game on Friday to get his pitch count up, although he is in San Diego for an Opening Day against his former teammates.


The Giants came to camp with five players locked into their bullpen, and all got the necessary work in while staying healthy. Camilo Doval will look to build on last year's 39 saves, and he should be the biggest beneficiary of the new LED lights at Oracle Park.

The Rogers Twins continued to do just about everything together this spring, and they'll form a strong duo in front of Doval. Luke Jackson now is two full years removed from Tommy John and the Giants are hopeful he resembles the pitcher who had a sub-two ERA during his last full MLB season. Ryan Walker won't be asked to start games this year, and some in camp believe he ultimately could become Doval's setup man.

The rotation is filled with guys who probably won't be pitching into the eighth too often in April and May, so this spring an emphasis was put on relievers who can go multiple frames. Landen Roupp, who has the organization's best curveball, won a job this spring and will jump from Double-A to the big leagues. Hard-throwing lefty Erik Miller benefited from already being on the 40-man and a strong 2023 in Triple-A, and he'll join Taylor Rogers from the left side of the bullpen.

The Giants will go with 13 pitchers most of the year. But with Bart on the roster, they have just 12 for the first game of the season, a day when everyone is fresh.

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