Consider this post at least 65% putting the cart before the horse because the Giants are just 33-32 and they’ve yet to start a four-game series against Miami, a team you’ll recall has a habit of shoving the Giants into a dumpster; but, very soon, they’ll be in a position where they need to decide if they’re going to make a move to sustain their little bit of success.
This isn’t about who the Giants should trade for (but it should be a starting pitcher) but who and/or what they can offer in a trade to get what they’ll need, whatever type of player(s) that may be (a starting pitcher). That’s important because it can help us establish how much hope we should have about a big move.
The Giants do not usually make big moves at the trade deadline, though. A trade for Manny Machado isn’t happening. No Justin Verlander-level deal, either. The flurry of moves at the 2016 deadline (netting Eduardo Nuñez, Matt Moore, and Will Smith) feels like the absolute ceiling. But who would the Giants have to give up to pull off such deals?
And what about the
salary cap competitive balance tax (CBT)? The Giants are trying to stay under it this year to avoid paying a 50% penalty for a second straight season. The tax kicks in at $197 million and is calculated at season’s end by MLB and factors in items such as benefits and per diem payouts, so to some degree, we fans will never really know the exact amount of the team’s payroll. Grant went into some detail about it this offseason.
Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal reported for Fox Sports that the Giants had placed Cory Gearrin on waivers in hopes that someone would claim him and pay his $1.675 million salary.
He went unclaimed (bizarre, I know), but he’s still on the roster because if they cut him, they lose the chance to move that tax figure. Any team taking on Gearrin, of course, won’t owe him $1.675 million, as the Giants have already paid 2+ months’ worth of the contract; it’s the remaining portion the Giants are hoping to save on for the year-end CBT calculation.
As Rosenthal reported, the Giants are $2 million over the CBT threshold right now. Every time they add a new player to the 40-man roster, their salary obligations increase. Every $100,000 counts at this point. So, that’s another reason why we might not see Steven Duggar this year. Any trade the Giants make will require dumping salary. This means they’ll very likely have to give up a lot more than usual just to make it work for the receiving team.
As Roger and I discussed in the special draft episode of the McCovey Chroncast, the Giants drafted like a team with no plans to rebuild. There’s been no change in their organizational philosophy, therefore, there’s no reason to believe they will be conservative with their prospects if they think they can win this year.
Begging the Giants to use their farm system to reload is a separate article, though. This one is about who the Giants have to offer in a key deadline deal. As I see it, there are three categories: players teams will want, salaries they’ll want to shed, and players they shouldn’t move at all but would under the right circumstances (reminder: circumstances as determined by them, not you).
There are also players teams might want but who the Giants wouldn’t move (basically, Buster, the Brandons, Longoria, McCutchen, Bumgarner, Watson, Smith, Strickland) and players the Giants would move but no team would want (Cueto, Melancon, Pence). It’s a... well, it’s a list. But what else could you expect? The Giants are going to try to make a playoff run by making trades that get them under a salary cap.
Players teams will want
Shaun Anderson (Double-A pitcher)
Joey Marciano (Single-A pitcher)
Logan Webb (Single-A pitcher)
Jalen Miller (Single-A hitter)
This list is a mix of players teams would jump at the chance to have and players teams would shrug at and say “Uh, okay, sure” when mentioned. It’s by no means comprehensive, either. Teams around the league no doubt have their eye on some random pitcher elsewhere in the Giants’ system whom they would gladly trade away.
Mac Williamson’s trade value is probably as high as it’s ever going to be going forward, Austin Slater’s is at its peak and the Giants have shown they don’t really want him on the team, and it would totally bone the Giants’ CBT aspirations to add Duggar to the 40-man roster, so, these three players feel like prime trade chips.
Suarez and/or Beede would have to go back to a mystery team in the event the Giants trade for a starter, and Sam Dyson is pitching well enough and making enough money that the Giants could probably shed that contract to help with the CBT and get something useful back in return. And Gorkys Hernandez could be a useful throw-in to a team like the Mets.
Salaries they’ll want to shed
Austin Jackson ($3 million)
Jeff Samardzija ($16 million)
Gregor Blanco ($1 million)
Cory Gearrin ($1.675 million)
Josh Osich ($558,000)
The figures next to each player is their total season salary, but figure that by the time we reach the deadline, the Giants will owe half the figure. This doesn’t factor in money the Giants would have to take back in any trade or if they could get the other team to keep paying for their own player and the player the Giants send.
If they did make such a move, you can bet the prospect cost would be enormous, along the lines of what Atlanta did during their rebuild, when they strapped Melvin Upton’s bad contract to Craig Kimbrel. Admittedly, Samardzija would need to come back soon to establish some value.
I didn’t include Hunter Pence on this list in part because I doubt he’d waive his no-trade clause and in part because I don’t think any team would be willing to take on that salary regardless of the haul; the Giants just don’thave attractive enough prospects to make such a deal. Then again —
Players they shouldn’t move, but will in “the right deal”
The Giants once traded Lucius Fox and Matt Duffy for Matt Moore. Therefore, a trade of Heliot Ramos, Joe Panik, and Hunter Pence’s expiring contract for, say, J.A. Happ isn’t impossible. Alen Hanson would be the cheap Panik replacement, as painful as that might be, but if the Giants sniff a chance at the playoffs after losing 98 games a season ago, they might be ruthless when it comes to dealing youngish players on the verge of arbitration.