SAN FRANCISCO -- It's dangerous to put too much stuck into the Twitter mentions, but when you hear something over and over again, you start to think about it a little bit. And every time the Giants announce a move, and thus their beat writers tweet about it, some fans respond with some variation of "this is ridiculous, I don't know the team anymore."
Well, that's not really true.
The starting infield many nights is the same -- Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval -- as the one that started in Game 7 of the World Series FIVE YEARS AGO! Steven Duggar is homegrown. Kevin Pillar and Stephen Vogt are relatively well-known. The rotation has been in flux, but fans should be very familiar with all of the options. Same with most of the bullpen.
But it is fair to point out that the churn at the back end of the roster is something we haven't really seen here before, even if it's absolutely what the Giants should be doing. Farhan Zaidi is looking for future contributors, so he has sped through backup infielders and fifth outfielders and stray pitchers in an effort to overhaul the 40-man roster and the entire organization's depth chart.
Through 50 games, the Giants already have used 39 players, which is tied for third in the big leagues. They used 48 players all of last year, 49 in 2017 and 45 in 2016.
Times have changed, and you're forgiven if you haven't been able to keep up. So here's a breakdown:
Trades: Alen Hanson, Derek Law and Juan De Paula for Kevin Pillar; Malique Ziegler for Tyler Austin; cash considerations for Francisco Pena; Erik Kratz for Matt Seelinger.
Pillar hasn't done much since that crazy first homestand, but he leads this team with 24 RBI and has added a bit of pop to the outfield. Hanson was cut by the Blue Jays and is out of pro ball at the moment, Law has a 4.91 ERA, and De Paula was getting rocked in A-ball before going on the injured list.
Austin is crushing lefties and looks like a strong platoon piece going forward. Overall, the Giants have to feel pretty good about their early-season trades.
Claimed Off Waivers: Andrew Moore, Aaron Altherr.
They were a bit bummed that Altherr ended up elsewhere.
Designated for Assignment: Michael Reed, Connor Joe, Gerardo Parra, Breyvic Valera, Pat Venditte, Yangervis Solarte, Andrew Moore, Erik Kratz, Aaron Altherr
What an eclectic list!
Parra has been pretty good for the Nationals, but he really showed nothing while here. Ditto with Solarte, who still has not caught on with a new team.
The Giants have used DFAs to try to get players through waivers and bolster their system, and they will continue to do so. They were able to hold on to Reed and Venditte, but Valera (Yankees), Moore (Mariners) and Altherr (Mets) found new homes. Expect plenty more of those kinds of moves, though. It's smart business, even if it's frustrating for players and fans.
Called up from Triple-A: Ty Blach, Stephen Vogt, Mike Gerber, Tyler Beede (twice), Pat Venditte, Mac Williamson, Donovan Solano (twice), Williams Jerez, Aramis Garcia, Shaun Anderson, Andrew Suarez.
Half these guys are still around, and we'll see more of Beede, for sure, and possibly Gerber. Anderson was called up sooner than expected, but part of looking to the future is figuring out which guys can be part of that, and the Giants wanted to get a long look at their top pitching prospect to figure out where he fits in down the line.
Optioned to Triple-A: Ty Blach, Tyler Beede (twice), Mike Gerber, Dereck Rodriguez, Aramis Garcia, Donovan Solano.
Beede and Rodriguez are the most interesting guys here, because the organization has some serious long-term rotation issues, and both of them could be part of the solution.
Beede has dominated Triple-A but struggled every time he's called up. The rebuild would be a lot easier if he breaks through. Rodriguez has dominated at stretches in the big leagues but needed some time to sort things out in Triple-A. The rebuild would be a lot easier if he got back to that 2018 form.