Home Sports Giants Mailbagg: Will the bullpen really be better? What about Melvin Upton Jr.?

Giants Mailbagg: Will the bullpen really be better? What about Melvin Upton Jr.?

16 min read

Here it is! The first Giants Mailbagg of the year. If you’d like to contribute a question or comment in the future, please reply to me on Twitter (@extrabaggs) or send me an email.

On to your questions…

Not sure wine was appropriate most of last year or on opening day. Perhaps a nice cup of ginger tea? Settles your stomach right down.

The baseball gods have a sense of humor, don’t they? Mark Melancon blows his first save chance as a Giant while Santiago Casilla has a stress-free ninth inning in his debut with the A’s. Sure, let the emotions flow. Appreciate the irony. Then appreciate pragmatism, because every shred of evidence tells you that Melancon won’t have many of these days this season.

I agree! That’s why I wrote this.

Last word from his agent was that Lincecum is still working out and throwing in Seattle in the hopes of signing somewhere. Even if he expresses a willingness to be a bullpen guy, it’s hard to imagine he can still be competitive. The velocity never really came back after hip surgery.

For me, your question is more intriguing than whether Lincecum ever pitches again. The Giants would love to have a Lincecum sendoff, and they celebrate their former greats better than any other franchise. There are some around the organization that doubt whether Lincecum would want to soak up the cheers, because he is so reclusive.

But I know how much Giants fans meant to him over the years, and even though his first impulse will be to wall himself off, I think he’ll fight through that and wish to reconnect in some way. He definitely deserves his day in the sun.

Yes. But a win would help.

A week ago, I would’ve said yes. Gorkys Hernandez was really struggling to find his stroke, possibly because he didn’t play winter ball for the first time in years. But Hernandez had a nice final week of camp. Chris Marrero earned a shot to see what he can do against lefties. And if his huge spring was a mirage, perhaps Michael Morse will be ready in another couple weeks. So unless Upton was willing to go to Triple-A, I don’t see a perfect fit right now.

I mean, sure. Always a good idea to know where your blood lipids are at. You’re right, this bullpen might not be better than the 2016 version now that Will Smith is out for the year. That was a tough, tough loss to absorb.

Remember, the Giants’ relief ERA was fifth out of 15 NL clubs last season. They weren’t abysmal. They just made mistakes and got hit at the crazy worst possible times. Bruce Bochy has to find out who can pitch under pressure, and which of his right-handers can retire a lefty batter. After being so reactionary last year, I think Bochy wants to use a steadier hand and not bury relievers so quickly after a bad outing. So we’ll find out soon enough. And Bochy will find out along with the rest of us.

Jae-gyun Hwang looks like a major league player, and he can opt out of his Triple-A contract on July 1. The Giants probably have until then to find a way to get him on the roster. He’ll work on his versatility in the meantime, and try to provide more evidence that his game will work up here.

We don’t talk about Ryder Jones a lot, but he was a high school draftee right after Arroyo and has been young for his league everywhere he’s gone. Jones has grown into his body and he really seems to have a good idea at the plate. He hasn’t hit for average and his OBP has hovered at .300, but his power numbers should safely translate. The Giants had a player like that by the name of Adam Duvall. Jones is left-handed, and lefty power plays a lot different in San Francisco. But he reminds me a lot of Duvall, only he’s doing it at a younger age and has better defensive skills at third base.

Of all the minor league team assignments, it was most interesting that Jones will begin with Triple-A Sacramento even though they have Hwang and Arroyo to play third base. All three are going to play, and the Giants must believe that Jones has nothing more to prove at Double-A.

Slater is further along with the bat, but Duggar plays center field. Given the Giants’ lack of depth at the position, an injury to Hernandez or Denar Span would get Duggar or Wynton Bernard to the majors first.

Nope. Guaranteed contracts are guaranteed contracts. Given the massive revenues in the game, I tend to come down on the side of the players on most labor issues. They’re the ones we are paying to see.

He was going to face a left-handed reliever, and the Giants led at the time. Bochy had the opportunity to get a better matchup with Hernandez and put in a better defender at the same time. So … no.

Against lefties, yes. That would be my move. We’ll see if Bochy agrees when the Giants face Patrick Corbin in a few hours.

Miami eating any of that Stanton money? Your trade suggestion aside, it’s an interesting question. I don’t think it’s too hard to answer. Arroyo is blocked everywhere but third base, and the Giants have options there. They absolutely need Beede to become a rotation mainstay, and perhaps within a few weeks if Matt Cain can’t be a competitive fifth starter. Johnny Cueto can opt out of his deal and who knows? Maybe Jeff Samardzija is pitching in relief by the end of his contract. There aren’t any other high-level starting pitching prospects in the system, and the Giants can’t drop a quarter-billion on the rotation every other offseason. They need Beede to step in soon, and be a good starter for them for a long time.

They thought Melancon in the ninth would stabilize the rest of the bullpen, which as discussed, wasn’t as terrible as you might think last year. The Smith injury hurts, but they couldn’t have seen that coming.

I think we’ll see Steven Okert back at some point soon. The best thing that could happen, though, would be for Josh Osich to figure out some consistency at Triple-A and carry it back to the big leagues. His power stuff is just pure filth.

You groom some players to play roles. You groom others to be everyday players. Arroyo is just 22. He’s not ready yet.

Thank you, Grant of McCovee Chronicles.

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