Diving into the depths: San Francisco Giants

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Tim Lincecum
2. Matt Cain
3. Jonathan Sanchez
4. Barry Zito
5. Madison Bumgarner
6. Jeff Suppan
7. Clayton Tanner
8. Dan Runzler
9. Henry Sosa
10. Shane Loux
11. Ryan Vogelsong

I don’t want to overestimate the Suppan signing, but before his addition, the Giants’ sixth starter was a guy who had a 79/64 K/BB ratio in 149 innings in Double-A last season. It’s going to be very important that the team’s top five stays relatively healthy once again.

Bullpen
1. Brian Wilson
2. Sergio Romo
3. Jeremy Affeldt
4. Santiago Casilla
5. Javier Lopez
6. Ramon Ramirez
7. Guillermo Mota
8. Dan Runzler
9. Marc Kroon
10. Waldis Joaquin
11. Alex Hinshaw
12. Steve Edlefsen
13. Casey Daigle
14. Ryan Vogelsong
15. Felix Romero
16. Shane Loux
17. Matt Yourkin

Because the Giants have two lefties guaranteed spots, they may well try Runzler as a starter this spring. If that happens, he’d start the year in the Triple-A rotation. … I’m very interested in seeing what Kroon has left. He always had a terrific arm, but command woes prevented him from establishing himself in the majors in his 20s. Now 37, he spent the last six years as one of Japan’s best closers. If he’s still throwing in the high-90s, he’s a sleeper.

Catcher
1. Buster Posey
2. Eli Whiteside
3. Jackson Williams
4. Chris Stewart

First base
1. Aubrey Huff
2. Travis Ishikawa
3. Brandon Belt
4. Pablo Sandoval
5. Brad Eldred

Second base
1. Freddy Sanchez
2. Mike Fontenot
3. Emmanuel Burriss
4. Mark DeRosa
5. Ryan Rohlinger

Third base
1. Pablo Sandoval
2. Mark DeRosa
3. Mike Fontenot
4. Ryan Rohlinger
5. Conor Gillaspie

Shortstop
1. Miguel Tejada
2. Emmanuel Burriss
3. Mike Fontenot
4. Ryan Rohlinger
5. Brandon Crawford

The Giants’ big question headed into spring training is whether Belt can force the team to carry him after his outstanding pro debut last season. If he does make the team, we’ll probably see him at first base and Huff in left field most of the time. Still, my guess is that he’ll head to Triple-A for at least two months. … Sandoval’s status will be another hot topic, but assuming that he’s made an effort to keep his weight down, he should get every chance to hold on to his job.

Left field
1. Pat Burrell
2. Aubrey Huff
3. Mark DeRosa
4. Brandon Belt
5. Aaron Rowand
6. Nate Schierholtz
7. Thomas Neal

Center field
1. Andres Torres
2. Aaron Rowand
3. Darren Ford
4. Cody Ross

Right field
1. Cody Ross
2. Aaron Rowand
3. Nate Schierholtz
4. Mark DeRosa
5. Terry Evans

Let’s assume Belt doesn’t make the team. There would still be four locks for the bench in DeRosa, Rowand, Fontenot and Whiteside, leaving just one spot for Schierholtz, Ishikawa or Burriss. Rowand’s demotion would seem to leave Schierholtz with no role at all, but Schierholtz’s defense would make him useful in the right situation.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.