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Saturday, February 03, 2007

ST Preview: Battle For Last 2 Bullpen Spots

As it stands now, if Armondo Benitez is healthy and on the team, the Giants have 5 arms that look like they will be guaranteed spots in the bullpen. Benitez, Steve Kline, Kevin Corriea, Brad Hennessey and Jonathon Sanchez look like they have spots reserved for them. If Sanchez beats out Ortiz for the 5th spot in the rotation and Ortiz is released by the end of spring, it would open up another spot. Right now it looks like there are 2 spots to be had and there are going to be a handfuls of People battling it out for those final roster spots. There has been a lot of talk about Brian Wilson this winter, some are even labeling him as the next closer of the San Francisco Giants, while some say they will be surprised if he makes the team. I am right in the middle on him. I haven't seen anything to make me believe he is anywhere close to being a major league closer, but I do like his arm and I do see some upside there. It looks like he will likely be on the staff unless he blows it during spring training, which is entirely possible. Another guy who will be invited to spring training who has a lesser chance of making the team is Tim Lincecum. The Giants still haven't committed to whether they want Lincecum in the pen or in the rotation. Because of the teams needs in the bullpen, it may pursued the Giants to use Lincecum there this summer. I hope they keep him in the rotation and get him ready for a 2008. It scares me a little when the Giants bounce their farmhands between the bullpen and rotation. I just think of how bad it has worked for Merkin Valdez. The Giants' had high hopes for him, but couldn't figure out if they want him to close or start, and he's never really gotten a grip on his role. I hope they keep Lincecum in the rotation and not mess with him.

A couple of the other arms battling who will be battling it out for the final bullpen slots are Vinny Chulk, Jack Taschner, Damian Moss, Tyler Walker and David Cortes. Billy Sadler, who closed in AA and dominated last year will also be there battling it out and he has an outside chance to start the year in San Francisco. Chulk looks to have the upper hand within this group. He did pitch pretty well in spurts for the Giants' after he was acquired as part of the Shea Hillenbrand deal. Plus I have a hard time seeing Sabean cut loose the only player he has left to show for the Jeremy Accardo trade of last summer. Taschner has been up and down between Fresno and San Francisco a lot over the past 2 years, but he'll likely be left off because the Giants appear to already have 2 lefties already in the pen. Damian Moss and David Cortes where brought in as long shots, but you never know where an outstanding spring could land you. Walker could be a darkhourse here. He was inconsistent in his time as Giants "fill-in" closer for Benitez in '05, but he did show that when he's on, he's tough to hit. Although he probably won't be healthy early due to recovery from surgery. I still have the memory of him striking out the side in Detroit with the bases loaded and nobody out, getting out of the jam and winning the game. Walker has the most experience closing, outside of Benitez, then anyone else going to spring training. If Benitez is dealt, he'll probably find his way onto the team at some point in the season.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They need to make a trade for more bullpen help.

  • At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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