Posted By Jeff Fletcher on March 25, 2011 9:32 am
Every spring there is lots of debate about who will win jobs and roster spots on opening day. Really, though, we shouldn’t care so much.
It’s just one day out of 183 days of the season, and the roster can change 183 times. Does it matter who is on the roster in the first game? Nope.
Let’s look back a year at the Giants opening day 2010 roster. (I have to snicker at the fact that Dan Brown, who filled in for Baggs that day, actually used the phrase “final roster.” Yes, it was the “final” opening day roster, which means it was etched in stone for one entire game.) Anyway, if you look at that, you’ll see that John Bowker was there, as the starting right fielder no less. You’ll see Waldis Joaquin and Brandon Medders were there in the bullpen. Eugenio Velez was there. Mark DeRosa was there. Freddy Sanchez (injured), Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Pat Burrell weren’t there.
By the time the season ended on Nov. 1 — seven months later — did it matter who was on the opening day roster? Heck, it didn’t matter one month later, on May 1.
The only time it really matters is in the case of a player who has a minor-league deal with an opt-out clause. Jeff Suppan, for example, can opt to leave the Giants if he’s not on the opening day roster. (His actual decision date may be a few days before opening day, but you get the idea.)
There are also players who are out of options, so they can be lost to the organization, but that’s true for them all year, not just on opening day. Remember Fred Lewis? There was a big question last year about what would happen to him on opening day, since he was on the bubble and out of options. Lewis ended up getting hurt just before the opener, securing an opening day DL spot. All that did was delay the decision on him. When he was healthy, he got traded to the Blue Jays.