The Giants traded Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick to the Pirates for Andrew McCutchen, but that’s not apparently the end of the offseason. The Pirates will send over $2.5 million in the deal, and the Giants will send over $500,000 in international bonus money that they weren’t likely to use before July. That might be enough money to get a starting pitcher or even a center fielder.
Start with the important stuff, which is that even with the $12 million McCutchen will receive from the Giants, the organization is perilously close to the luxury-tax threshold already. If there are several injuries, and they have to add more rookies to the 40-man roster than expected, this will make a difference. If it’s July 31, the Giants are two games back, and they need a tiny little bullpen upgrade, this will make a difference. This $2.5 million salary relief might be more of a buffer than a sign that more moves are imminent.
That written, it gives the Giants a chance to do something else. Like Trevor Cahill for $1.75 million? He might not be so keen on that deal, but at least now there’s a chance. Would Austin Jackson fit for $1.5 million? Seems like he should get a teensy bit more, but we don’t know where this offseason will go. There are ways for the Giants to spend this money that would make them better next year. The only problem is that they’ll need the gift of foresight to get this exactly right.
They have the money, though. They have a little bit of wiggle room, and while the Pirates weren’t looking to pay down McCutchen’s entire contract to get a top-100 prospect, they were apparently amenable to keeping the Giants under the luxury-tax threshold as a contingency of this trade. Now there’s room to do ... something.
Don’t screw up that something. That’s my advice. The Giants are still looking to make McCutchen a corner outfielder, which was my wish all along. If they feel like they have to play him in center, that wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it would be disappointing. There’s still a small amount of money to spend, even
Reminder that Austin Jackson fits this team (and their plans for Steven Duggar) like a panda hat. Unless that’s a bad analogy. Maybe I just should have went with the fits-like-a-glove construction. Yeah, that seems better.
But it’s possible now. The Giants are officially older and probably better, and it seems like there are still ways to improve. That’s all you really wanted, right? Except for the older part, which was inevitable, this team is probably better, and they’re not done yet.