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.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.