What Giants’ new additions mean for Anthony DeSclafani, Tommy La Stella – Yahoo Sports

What Giants’ new additions mean for DeSclafani, La Stella originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The four days in San Diego could have gone down as some of the best in Giants history.

As Giants officials checked into the Manchester Grand Hyatt, home of the MLB Winter Meetings, there was hope that Barry Bonds would get into the Hall of Fame on Sunday and Duane Kuiper would on Wednesday. The Giants went to San Diego last week as one of two frontrunners for Aaron Judge, as well, and there was optimism he would choose to come home, just as Bonds once did.

Instead, the winter meetings were largely about disappointment. Bonds didn’t come close to getting voted in by a committee made up mostly of his peers, and longtime Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes won the Ford C. Frick Award. Judge, of course, chose to go back to the New York Yankees, but the Giants have pivoted quickly.

Carlos Correa finally gave the Giants a huge free-agency win, and he’ll be introduced in the coming days, becoming the first offseason acquisition to get a press conference at Oracle Park since Mark Melancon six years ago. The Giants also have added Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea this week, bringing the offseason bill to $463 million dollars.

They have more work to do, but as we wait for other needs to be filled, let’s look back. Here are some notes from the last couple of weeks, on new Giants and old ones:

What’s Next For DeSclafani?

With Stripling and Manaea each getting two-year deals, the longest contract in the rotation still belongs to Anthony DeSclafani, who had season-ending ankle surgery after just five starts last year. The rehab is going well, according to president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who said strength and conditioning coach Brad Lawson recently visited DeSclafani and sent video back to the front office and coaches.

“He looks great,” Zaidi said. “He’s moving around really well.”

It’s easy to forget, given how his 2022 season went, but a year earlier, DeSclafani posted a 3.17 ERA and consistently got deep into games. If he’s healthy and right, he’d be a big boost to the rotation that likely will lose Carlos Rodón.

DeSclafani is one of six current Giants starters, with Jakob Junis and Kyle Harrison waiting in the wings. Who makes the Opening Day cut? That’ll be sorted out in Scottsdale, but the Giants certainly need the depth, in part because they want to be careful with DeSclafani.

“It wasn’t arm-related, but again, he just didn’t throw a lot of innings last year, so at some point we’ll have to have the conversation about what a workload looks like,” Zaidi said. “It may be a full workload. We just aren’t there yet. He feels really good and everything is on track for him to be a full go this year.”

Infield Depth

Speaking of having a full house, the Correa addition should pretty much set the infield mix. No matter where Brandon Crawford plays, he’ll be a regular. Throw in Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada, J.D. Davis, David Villar and Tommy La Stella, and you’re at seven infielders, which is a lot to carry for a team that hopes to have Joc Pederson as the DH most nights.

Zaidi said La Stella, who had two Achilles surgeries last offseason, feels “really good about where he’s at” physically. La Stella recently visited Kai Correa in Colorado to do infield work, and his plan was to go do some hitting work at a facility in Texas.

“Tommy’s relentless about trying to get the best out of this offseason,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “So far, it’s going well.”

For as much speculation as there has been, the Giants and La Stella are not acting like sides that expect him to be elsewhere in February. He’s owed $11.5 million next year, and if he’s able to play the infield, he still could be a fit. Aside from LaMonte Wade Jr., he’s the only left-handed option at first base right now, where Flores figures to get most of the time.

This one can be figured out in spring training, but at some point the Giants probably are going to need to move a veteran. Villar has earned the right to get an everyday shot, and Isan Diaz and Brett Wisely give them left-handed-hitting depth on the 40-man.

Disappointing Finish

After being limited to 57 games in High-A, Marco Luciano hoped to make up for the lost at-bats with Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican Winter League. But Luciano was shut down after just five games because of the same back discomfort that cost him most of the minor league season.

“Obviously we want to be careful with him,” Zaidi said. “There isn’t a long-term concern, but this was concerning enough that he got shut down. We expect him to be fine for spring training. It’s too bad he couldn’t get those at-bats.”

Luciano has missed a lot of development time the last three years, but he’s still just 21. The Giants desperately need him to stay on the field in 2023 for a number of reasons, including the fact that the clock has started on his 40-man roster time.

The New Guy

While Harrison is set to start at Triple-A, the Giants still are waiting for most of their pitching talent to work through the low minors. That’s why Miguel Yajure, a pitcher claimed from the Pirates just before the meetings and then later outrighted, could end up seeing some time.

Yajure is just 24 but already has pitched in parts of three seasons for the Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. He hasn’t had much success at the big league level — in 19 appearances, he has a 7.58 ERA — but Zaidi said the right-hander has been on his radar for a while.

In 2019, Yajure had a 2.26 ERA in A-ball for the Yankees. That got him a late promotion to Double-A, where he had two dominant starts. The pandemic cost him experience, but he did make three relief appearances for the Yankees that year.

Zaidi said the Giants had trade discussions with the Yankees that summer and again in the offseason, but he was dealt to Pittsburgh in a trade that sent Jameson Taillon to New York. Yajure has struggled since that trade.

“This year his performance took a little bit of a step back, but we still really like the ingredients,” Zaidi said. “Hopefully we can help him clean up his mechanics a little bit. His velocity has actually gotten better.”

Old Friends

One of the players Stripling talked to when he was considering the Giants was former first-rounder Tyler Beede. Stripling said he had dinner with Beede and Scott Kazmir this week, and both felt he made a great choice in free agency. He also consulted former Blue Jays teammate Kevin Gausman.

“It’s just one after another talking about how guys [in San Francisco] help them get better,” he said.

Beede’s next step will be a fascinating one. He signed a deal with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. Another former top Giants pitching prospect, Shaun Anderson, has signed with the Kia Tigers in South Korea.

RELATED: Correa’s homer spray chart shows he’ll be fine at Oracle Park

Keep Pushing

Even after adding five veterans, the Giants still go into 2023 projected behind — and likely well behind — the Dodgers and Padres. At the moment, given how quiet it has been in Los Angeles, the Padres are probably the NL West favorites.

The Giants need to keep adding, but not just because of those two teams. The young Arizona Diamondbacks gave them a lot of trouble last year, and a few executives pointed out at the winter meetings that they’re poised to break out.

You can count Kapler among those who know the Giants have a tough road ahead of them in the NL West.

“You know, the Diamondbacks were really tough on us this year. They’re a really challenging team,” he said last week. “I think about the Diamondbacks a lot because they’re so gifted and athletic and they’re all so young.”

The Giants should continue to think about them a lot. This division will require them to keep adding.

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