For a club to acquire a player from another organization after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, that player must be placed on waivers and can be claimed first by a team in his current league (in reverse order of winning percentage) and then the other league.
With San Francisco a game behind L.A., the only club with a poorer record and a reasonable shot at the playoffs in the NL is Arizona and they don't have much need for an outfielder.
A player on a one-year contract who will also be a free agent at the end of the year (i.e. not under team control through arbitration) isn't likely to attract too much interest from teams that are out of contention.
Trying to get an outfielder from the AL is a bit more complicated as there are 8 teams with good playoff chances. I'm drawing that line just above the Boston Red Sox as they are now 6 full games out of the second wildcard with one (and probably two later on) teams in their own division to pass. Long odds with with just 7 weeks left on the schedule.
Playoff Hero, bear icon, bald and bearded basher of baseballs, totem and avatar of unexpected post-season success... Yes, more Cody Ross, please.
It's hard to speculate what a trade with the Sox might require the Giants to give up, but it might take as little as a grade B prospect if the Bostons fortunes continue to decline through this weekend.
This season's numbers for Ross are inflated by playing in Fenway, but he's having a good year by any park-factored analysis. On the remainder of his one-year $3 million contract, the Giants would only be on the hook for $750,000 or so assuming a deal got done over this weekend. (By contrast the Giants are saving $1.6M by not having to cut payroll checks for a former LF who is now on the restricted list.)
The tough bit is sneaking him through the AL waiver process. Two of the teams in the AL playoff picture -- Baltimore and Detroit -- could use some outfield help. Although each team has been getting slightly better production from their outfielders over the last 30 days, they could still be in the market for an upgrade or some bench bats.
Gregor Blanco is not the answer, nor is any combination of Justin Christian, Brandon Belt or Marco Scutaro in the Giants outfield. Something must be done about getting another outfield bat and it's to be hoped the Giants will at least make inquiries on Ross.