Infielder Wilson Valdez and right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez were cut Friday morning, more than a week before the opt-out day in both veterans' contracts. Assistant general manager Bobby Evans said the Giants wanted to give the players a chance to catch on somewhere else since neither was going to make the opening day roster.
Valdez was thought to be the favorite to win the second backup infielder job alongside Joaquin Arias. Now, Evans said, the Giants will wait and hope that Tony Abreu can get over a strained quad that has limited him to just two at-bats all spring. If Abreu is not available by opening day, Nick Noonan will likely make his major league debut.
"It does bode well for (Noonan)," Evans said of Friday's cuts. "We'll need the depth."
Noonan, 23, hit just .186 in 43 spring at-bats before being optioned out of camp on March 15. But he showed the ability to play strong defense at multiple infield spots and was having better at-bats before being sent out. Noonan returned to camp Friday and is starting at third base in an afternoon game against the Colorado Rockies.
Evans said he thought Ramirez might draw some outside interest as a free agent, but the Giants would like to add him to their Triple-A roster if Ramirez, a member of the 2010 championship team, can't find a better option. The 35-year-old Valdez is unlikely to take a minor league deal.
Chad Gaudin has a similar April 1 out in his contract but is a near-lock to make the roster as a long reliever. Fellow right-hander Scott Proctor can opt out of his contract on July 1.
Evans said the Giants continue to monitor other cuts around baseball to see if they can find a suitable backup infielder. Ryan Theriot, who scored the winning run in the 2012 World Series, would like a full-time job and remains at home in Louisiana. Chone Figgins, recently cut by the Marlins, is not considered an option.