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The Giants might trade in August, but not just to sell

A friendly reminder that the Giants can also buy and prepare for 2018 in August.

San Francisco Giants v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

One of these weeks, we’ll have a nice, long chat about the wisdom of the Giants pretending they can compete in 2018. It makes sense if you believe they can whack everyone with the play-better stick. It doesn’t make sense if you’re skeptical that a play-better stick can be developed or acquired in time.

But they’re going for it. You know this. They’ve already decided this. They’ve already committed to spending at least $140 million or so on Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Madison Bumgarner, Mark Melancon, Jeff Samardzija, and (probably) Johnny Cueto. Of the players they would consider trading, they would not get much back at all, and they would have to spend millions just to trade them. The plan is to hope they play better and be creative around them.

If it makes you feel slightly more confident, it’s not absolutely daft to hope for the play-better stick to work on every single player up there except for Posey (already awesome) and Pence (love him, but possibly on the wrong side of the hill). That’s a list of underperforming players who don’t have to stay underperforming.

It’s just daft. Not that I have a better solution. If the Giants sold everybody — everybody — and ate whatever money it took to trade their entire roster, they would get maybe a third of the prospects back that the White Sox got. Maybe. And you know what White Sox fans have to watch for the next couple years? The White Sox, who are like the Giants without Buster Posey. That doesn’t sound like fun, and it doesn’t sound like smart business.

Anyway, we’ve come to the point of the article: The Giants are going to try again for 2018, which means that they might have a chance to add players in August who can help next year.

Because the Giants are so wretched, they will be in a great spot to sniff around the waiver claims all month. They’ll get first or second crack at all of the players put on waivers by National League teams, and they’ll get the 16th or 17th crack at all the players put on waivers by the American League teams.

So let’s see how this might work, in theory.

The Pirates are falling, falling, falling back out of the NL Central race. They weren’t hyperactive at the deadline, trying to sell, because they were a little closer to the top of the division, and they figured they’d make one final push. By the end of the month, they might be 10 out and ready to sell. So they’ll put just about everyone on revocable waivers as a procedural move. Every team will. The Giants might put Buster Posey on revocable waivers, even. And if the Phillies claim him, the Giants will ask for $1 billion in pennies, the Phillies will say no, and the Giants will pull him back.

If the Phillies give the Giants $1 billion in pennies, the Giants can use that to buy the Phillies and trade Posey back to them for a player to be named later. I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

Anyway, the Pirates are almost guaranteed to put Andrew McCutchen on waivers, for example. If the Giants have the worst record in baseball, they’ll get the first chance to claim him. Now they get to talk exclusively with the Pirates about McCutchen. If the Pirates don’t think the Giants match up well in a deal, they’ll pull him back. Or if the Pirates just want to be rid of his salary (unlikely), they’ll just give him to the Giants.

The Marlins wanted to be rid of Cody Ross’s salary, and that’s how the Giants won the World Series. August is awesome, really.

The wisdom of the Giants claiming McCutchen is a different story. He’s 31, has a year left on his contract, and is coming off a great year, which means the Pirates will want more prospects than the Giants can offer. It would help them gauge his trade value, but it would mostly hose the Pirates from making a deal that can actually happen. I was just using him as an example.

But let’s use Julio Teheran as another example. The Braves’ right-hander is having a miserable season, leading the league in home runs allowed. He’s owed $19 million over the next two seasons, and while he’s still young and filled with potential, the organization has to be fretting about his ability to contribute next season and beyond.

Matt Moore is having a miserable season, leading the league in earned runs allowed. He’s owed $19 million over the next two seasons, and while he’s still young and filled with potential, the Giants have to be fretting about his ability to contribute next season and beyond.

I’m not saying that the Braves or Giants would have any interest in a challenge trade, or giving these players a change of scenery. It’s just the kind of discussion that could come up in August, and the Giants are in one of the two best positions to have them. They can be creative and build toward 2018. It’s not all about hoping to get Denard Span on another team that he can help more. It’s not all about hoping another team’s closer gets hurt so that Mark Melancon is suddenly more desirable, which is ghoulish anyway.

It might be about next season. While I think this is unlikely, it’s not completely out of the realm of consideration. August is a month that’s filled with trades, and the Giants have the ability to be creative. We’ll see if anything falls into their laps.

Or if they trip on something.

They’re probably going to get up, and something will fall off their lap, and then they’ll trip over it.

Now I’m scared.

oh man they’re going to claim albert pujols aren’t they, why did i jinx it, hellllp