At least one and likely two players won’t be part of the Giants’ Opening Day roster, as outfielder Luis Gonzalez and utilityman Donovan Walton have both been sidelined with injuries. Manager Gabe Kapler told Evan Webeck of the Bay Area News Group (Twitter links) and other reporters that Gonzalez will miss the next 4-6 weeks due to a lower back strain, and the team also told the media that Walton will be out until May due to his recovery from shoulder surgery.
Kapler specified that Gonzalez’s current problem is in a different area than the back strain that hampered the outfielder last season, though it does mark the third time in less than a year that back issues that kept Gonzalez out of action. He missed a little over two weeks in June and July dealing with his first back strain, and Gonzalez was eventually shut down with another strain in late September.
After playing nine MLB games with the White Sox in 2020-21, Gonzalez was placed on waivers after undergoing season-ending surgery and then claimed by the Giants in August 2021. (The team non-tendered Gonzalez over the offseason but re-signed him to a new minor league deal in pretty short order.) As Gonzalez got healthy and started to receive more playing time, it looked like a very canny pickup for San Francisco, as the outfielder had an .869 OPS over his first 112 plate appearances of the 2022 season. Gonzalez even won NL Rookie Of The Month honors for May, but that proved to be the peak of his year, as his numbers (undoubtedly impacted by his ongoing back issues) came back to earth. Gonzalez ended up with a slightly below-average 95 wRC+ in 350 PA, slashing .254/.323/.360 with four homers, 17 doubles, and 10 steals in 12 chances. He also made five mop-up appearances as a pitcher in blowout games, with a 5.68 ERA to show for his 6 1/3 innings on the mound.
Heading into 2023, Gonzalez’s injury will further complicate his path to more playing time in a crowded San Francisco outfield. The Giants were aggressive in adding to their outfield mix over the offseason, as they re-signed Joc Pederson and signed Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto in free agency. Even with Pederson mostly slated DH duty, Haniger and Conforto are expected to be the regular corner outfield combo, with Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater penciled into center field. LaMonte Wade Jr., Thairo Estrada, Heliot Ramos, and non-roster invitees Stephen Piscotty and Bryce Johnson might also be considered. Gonzalez has a minor league option remaining, meaning the Giants could send him to Triple-A as further depth once he recovers from his back problem.
Walton underwent his surgery back in September, after his shoulder issues resulted in a 60-day IL placement that prematurely ended his season. Acquired in a trade with the Mariners last May, Walton had 78 total PA in the 2022 season (all with San Francisco) and he hit .158/.179/.303.
The 28-year-old Walton has appeared in each of the last four MLB seasons, though he has only 61 big league games on his resume after being frequently back and forth between the majors and minors with both the Giants and Mariners. Walton has played mostly second base and shortstop during his career, but he has more recently branched out to some third base and left field work in order to add to his versatility and help his chances of sticking in the Show.
The Giants non-tendered Walton last November, but then re-signed him to a new minor league deal in December. Since Walton is out of minor league options, San Francisco might eventually face a tricky roster decision when he is healthy, though that decision is still at least a couple of months away.
Sorry Giants fans..I know this hurts..Maybe you can trade for Judge?
A troll probably just doesn’t understand but see commenter below who does. As far as the trade goes, no thanks he had his chance.
Or maybe they can trade for Carlos Correa….or sign Manny Machado next year ….Oh wait
Or maybe you could go back under your bridge.
These guys spend their Sunday trolling comment sections about other teams’ depth guys getting injured. Kinda sad.
Then come back to thumbs up their own pathetic posts.
Judge will be hurt again soon enough. He only plays a full schedule in contract years. Soon it’ll be back to the IL with his partner-in-injury Stanton. And save room on the IL for old and overpaid Donaldson, too.
This one belongs to the Reds
I thought Heyman said the Giants already signed Arson!
How original, and so current.
You’re so mad over an off handed joke comment. You gonna be ok?
This one belongs to the Reds
Some people have no sense of humor that we’re aware of.
Personally, I love pointing out that Heyman isn’t the great reporter they make him out to be.
Not mad at all.
Just guilty of feeding trolls.
Walton wasn’t going to make the team and Gonzalez was likely the odd man out thanks to the fact that he has options and the Giants have full Outfield
I have mentioned before that I see some similarities between the Red Sox and Giants. So for fun I pose the following questions?
1) Which team finishes with the better record in ’23 and why?
2) Which team’s minor league system begins to produce first?
3) Which team loses patience with it’s current regime first?
1) as much as it pains me to say it i think the Giants will fare better in ’23. Less uncertainty surrounding the offense and starting pitching. The bullpen’s could be a wash, but also could favor the Giants
2) with Ceddane Rafaela, Bryan Mata, Brandon Walter, David Hamilton, Chris Murphy, and maybe Emmanuel Valdez coming up at various points this season and Nick Yorke, Marcelo Mayer, Nathan Hickey and some others on the horizon i think the Sox system will bare fruit sooner
3) this one is a little tougher. Both Cora and Kapler are signed through the ’24 season, which doesn’t necessarily buy either job security but both having successful seasons just 2 season’s ago may help. Farhan Zaidi is on an expiring contract and the Sox fan base made loud and clear their opinion on Bloom at the Sox fan fest. Bloom’s contract status is unknown but if either team underperformes it could be the managers are retained and Zaidi/Bloom are fired or all 4 are fired but definitely believe all 4 are on the seat (i give a slight edge to Zaidi being fired over the lofty expectations of landing a big ticket free agent and coming up empty. It’s like promising your kid a PS5 and coming home with a Gameboy)
Interesting that you think the Giants will fare better in 2023, but that Zaidi is more at risk. Certainly, since how each team performs this season will play a role in how a team feels about their incumbent FO leader, yet in your opinion, the better predicted outcome will result in a more negative outcome.
I’m not as familiar with the Sox manner in this regard, but it would surprise me if the Giants moved on from Zaidi. The Giants tend to like a level of stability, and firing Zaidi, when they’re well aware of the circumstances of the failures with Judge and Correa, would be counter to their normal SOP. Fans may feel they were promised something, but I doubt the team feels that way.
If the Giants do have concerns it would be mostly with the disappointing player development. But, even if that is an issue I still think they’ll extend Zaidi even if it’s on a short deal, maybe year to year at this point. I wouldn’t bet on it, but Bloom leaving the Sox seems more likely to me, though I’d guess both stay for now.
Time for the Bosox to get yaz and let him wear his
Kind of a broad question.but I’ll give it a crack..
.Giants and Sox both finish 3rd..both are in tough divisions, and the giants big guns and back end of the staff are weak.
As for minor league system? Casas will be solid but unspectacular, while the Giants’ system is in a holding pattern..but does well in AAA/AA. Next year will be their development year..but aside from 1 or 2 plus performances, they’re not ready yet..
Both lose patience in their current regimes..and both get fired going into ‘24.
Just my guesses. What are yours?
Thank you for your reply.
I’ll take the Giants to win around 80 games and Sox around 77. I actually think Boston has a more talented roster, but I think the AL East is a little better and AL in general a little deeper. Therefore the Giants have an easier path.
I’m not very well informed about either team’s minor league talent, but Boston seems ready to start giving playing time to some of their young players whereas SF is more committed to vets.
In my opinion Giants fans are more patient than Red Sox fans so I expect the San Francisco front office to get a longer leash. If the Giants completely crash this season they will still be able to point to a developing minor league system. If the Red Sox crash this season it will be in part because their first wave failed to make an impact. Boston’s front office will have a harder time selling fans on a brighter future to come.
Well, I’ll answer too:
(1) Giants with 88 wins
(3) Neither this year.
Aside from the fact that Bloom cops a hiding, I know SFA about the Red Sox. Taking that into account…
Giants. 90 wins
Giants on the back of Harrison, Schmidt and a couple of power relievers.
Neither but Giants if it happens. Bit further down the road than Bloom.
The Giants nave a hidden talent in Colton Welker. He can hit and do wonders. Hope he is brought up.
Wilmer the Thrillmer
Colton Welker is pretty random. Are you a high school buddy of his? He was pretty highly rated pre 2019 but has only played in 62 games since 2019 because of coved and injuries. I’ll root for him!
Shame because both of these guys are valuable bench players (Gonzales if healthy could be a legit everyday player) but I don’t think either one was slated for a significant role early on anyway.
I liked Gonzales but have no idea why Walton was invited back after last season; Giants got hosed in that trade of Prelander Berroa.
Walton being invited back might have had something to do with infield depth.