The San Francisco Giants used a franchise-record 66 players last season. By the end of the year, clubhouse staff were assigning jerseys in numerical order.
While some of the seemingly constant churn can be attributed to circumstances outside of their control — injuries, etc. — a definitive pattern has emerged under Farhan Zaidi, who attempts to squeeze value out of every margin on the roster.
San Francisco has broken franchise records in two of Zaidi’s four seasons, and his only year that doesn’t rank among the top five in the 140-year history of the franchise was 2020, when they only played 60 games. In fact, only 19 of the 66 players who wore a Giants uniform last season were also among the group of 64 that set the record in 2019.
Zaidi has said he expects more day-to-day stability in the lineup this season, but it’s more difficult to predict the needs at the end of the roster, where time for many waiver claims is better measured in weeks rather than months.
“We’d like to see less turnover on the 26th man over the course of the season,” Zaidi said last month. “… I think some of that comes from health. For us, the hope is that we can keep the group of guys that start the season on the roster healthy.”
Of those 66 players, 32 will be back in camp with the Giants this spring; 34 have found jobs elsewhere, remain unsigned or decided to hang up their spikes. They are listed below in order of games played last season.
Darin Ruf (90 games): Dealt at the trade deadline for a package of four players, including J.D. Davis, Ruf returns to the Mets this season on the second year of the extension he signed with the Giants last spring. While Davis enters the spring ensnared in a corner infield logjam, his slugging percentage for San Francisco after the trade last season (.496) was higher than Ruf’s OPS in New York (.410).
Evan Longoria (89 games): Said at the end of last season that there were three teams he’d like to play for — the Giants, the Rays and the D-Backs — and fulfilled that prophecy, signing a one-year deal in Arizona, where he will provide a veteran presence for a rising club.
Brandon Belt (78 games): Signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, meaning there will be less than two Brandons in the Giants’ clubhouse for the first time since 2010, when they kicked off a run of three World Series title in five years. The last Brandon standing (Crawford) is also the last remaining player from that dynastic era. Book your tickets now (and prepare to sell your soul for a hotel room): The Giants visit Toronto June 26-29.
Tommy La Stella (60 games): Signed a major-league deal with the Seattle Mariners, who were among the reported runners-up when La Stella originally signed with San Francisco. The Giants will be on the hook for all but the major-league minimum of La Stella’s $11.5 million salary.
Jarlín García (58 games): Signed a major-league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and will pitch for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
Dominic Leone (55 games): Remains a free agent.
Curt Casali (41 games): Signed a major-league deal with Cincinnati, where he spent the three seasons before signing with the Giants in 2021. San Francisco has one catcher on its 40-man roster and six in camp on minor-league deals.
Zack Littell (39 games): Remains a free agent.
Yunior Marte (39 games): Traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for LHP Erik Miller, who will be in major-league spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Jason Vosler (36 games): Signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to MLB spring training with Cincinnati (though not before signing a similar deal with Seattle, then being released).
Yermín Mercedes (31 games): Remains a free agent. Has locked his Instagram account.
Carlos Rodón (31 games): Got that bag and shaved his beard. It’ll likely be Rodón on the mound April 1 for the season’s second game, making his debut in pinstripes, and the Giants had better hope he’s not in the same form he was during his introductory start last year. The question is who will be starting opposite him. Leader in the clubhouse: Alex Cobb.
Mauricío Dubón (24 games): Earned a World Series ring, appearing in Games 2 and 4, and returns this season to Houston, where he was traded last May for catcher Michael Papierski, who is also on this list.
Jake McGee (24 games): Announced his retirement, telling the Tampa Bay Times that he’d like to be recognized for his time with the Rays, who drafted him and where he spent his first six seasons in the majors. Appeared in 650 games with a 3.71 ERA over 13 seasons, including a 3.89 mark over 86 appearances with the Giants the past two seasons.
José Álvarez (21 games): After undergoing Tommy John surgery in September, Álvarez isn’t expected to pitch this season. He became a free agent in October and remains unsigned.
Lewis Brinson (16 games): Signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.
Steven Duggar (12 games): Signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to MLB spring training with the Los Angeles Dodgers, after the Giants traded him last season to Texas for Willie Calhoun, who is also on this list.
Luke Williams (8 games): Also signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to MLB spring training with the Dodgers.
Tyler Beede (6 games): Signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, where he is now teammates with Brinson, after posting a 5.23 ERA in 25 games with the Pirates last season.
Luis Ortiz (6 games): Claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Jharel Cotton (5 games): Remains a free agent.
Stuart Fairchild (5 games): Hit .279 with five home runs in 39 games (an .879) with the Cincinnati Reds after they claimed him on waivers last June, and enters spring in their plans for this season.
Dixon Machado (5 games): Signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to MLB spring training with the Houston Astros.
Michael Papierski (5 games): San Francisco was only the second of four stops last season in a merry-go-round that ended in Detroit.
Willie Calhoun (4 games): Signed a minor-league contract with the New York Yankees.
Kevin Padlo (4 games): Signed a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Angels.
Austin Dean (3 games): Remains a free agent.
Andrew Knapp (3 games): Signed a minor-league contract with the Detroit Tigers.
Jason Krizan (3 games): Remains a free agent.
Kervin Castro (2 games): Signed a minor-league contract with the Detroit Tigers.
Gregory Santos (2 games): Traded to the Chicago White Sox.
Mike Ford (1 game): Signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to MLB spring training with the Seattle Mariners.
Ka’ai Tom (1 game): Released in August, Tom remains a free agent.
Andrew Vasquez (1 game): Claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies.