Roster breakdown: Where Giants stand one week from MLB Winter Meetings


SAN FRANCISCO -- On his first day on the job, Farhan Zaidi said the goal of the front office would be to form a 40-man roster "where taking any player off gives you heartburn."

So far, the 40-man has only seen subtractions. Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez were the latest to go, leaving Zaidi with 34 players on his roster with one week until the start of the Winter Meetings. He has flexibility, but he also has work to do.

Here's a breakdown of where the roster stands as we approach the busiest part of the offseason:

Catcher: Buster Posey remains on track to be ready by spring training, but at the moment, the Giants have just one other catcher on the roster. They would be fine with Aramis Garcia as their backup, but expect them to add at least one veteran in the coming weeks. Nick Hundley is still out there. 

Corner Infield: Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria might end up being trade chips, but at the moment they make up the heart of the order. There haven't been any real changes here, and unless he trades one of those two guys, Zaidi doesn't really need to add.

The Giants owe Pablo Sandoval just the MLB minimum next season and he fits well with Zaidi's idea of team chemistry. 

Middle Infield: Joe Panik signed a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration, but that doesn't mean the Giants won't trade him at some point. For now, the Panik-Crawford duo is set to be back in the infield, with Alen Hanson and Abiatal Avelino the only players behind them on the 40-man roster.

Kelby Tomlinson is a Diamondback and Chase d'Arnaud is a free agent. Hanson and Avelino are pretty interesting in this new era. Zaidi likes versatility and could be open to playing Hanson all over the field more, especially because he has significant platoon splits. Avelino is playing winter ball and could be another do-everything piece. Expect at least one addition to this group in the coming weeks. 

Outfield: The Giants have just four outfielders on their 40-man roster and all are relatively unproven. Steven Duggar is the center fielder, but look for Zaidi to add significant depth to a group that also includes Chris Shaw, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater.

The Giants don't appear to be in on the biggest player in this market, but there are other options who can give the lineup a boost. 

Rotation: Assuming they don't trade Madison Bumgarner -- I don't believe they will this offseason -- the Giants have a pretty good start here with Bumgarner, Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez. Jeff Samardzija is said to be doing well, but this is the main area where Zaidi is looking to add depth.

Remember, the Dodgers regularly loaded up on starters when Zaidi was GM. It wouldn't be a surprise to see at least a couple of veterans brought in, giving the Giants some wiggle room if Samardzija isn't back to his old form. There are some sleeper options in terms of starters. 

Bullpen: Strickland made 244 appearances for the Giants over the last four seasons, but that workload can be replaced by the emergence of Reyes Moronta and possibly Ray Black. The bullpen is an area where Zaidi has traditionally looked for cheap breakout options, which means the Rule 5 Draft could be a bit more interesting for the Giants this winter, and they likely will add more options than in past years.

Guys like Melvin Adon -- recently added to the 40-man roster -- could be on the fast track. The Giants are actually in pretty good shape here, but it would be smart to build depth. If they're fading near the trade deadline, trading relievers will be the easiest way to stockpile prospects, and Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson will be on the block. 

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