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Tuesday BP: Pick your trade deadline strategy

Put on your GM cap.

Farhan Zaidi talking to reporters Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, San Francisco Giants fans.

Let’s hope it’s a happy Tuesday. It wasn’t a very happy Monday, with the Giants putting the finishing touches on a six-game losing streak.

The skid — which came after a seven-game winning streak, we should point out — was a reminder that the Giants need some help. Their position in the standings — they’re still in a Wild Card spot, and still within reach of the division — is a reminder that things are still looking up.

Which makes the upcoming MLB trade deadline — in exactly one week — that much more exciting and important. The Giants will almost surely make a move. But what move will it be? Time to put on your Farhan Zaidi hat and pick a deadline strategy.

Strategy No. 1 — Biggest name possible

This strategy means calling the Los Angeles Angels every hour, on the hour, to see how they’re feeling about Shohei Ohtani. It means peppering the San Diego Padres about Juan Soto or hell, even making a push for Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado. Kyle Harrison’s on the table. Marco Luciano’s on the table. Everyone’s on the table. Just add some talent.

Strategy No. 2 — Like strategy No. 1, but turned down a little

There’s always the option to chase big upgrades without the massive outgoing package that someone like Soto or Ohtani would command. Paul Goldschmidt won’t be cheap, but he’s 35, having a (relative) down year, and only under contract for one more year. A losing streak in the next week might make Corbin Burnes — ready to hit free agency for the first time at the end of 2024 — available. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are both making more than $40 million a year and regressing. You get significantly better in the short term, for significantly less money than if you want to add a longer contract (like Machado or Arenado), or significantly less prospect capital than if you want to add a franchise player that you hope to re-sign (like Ohtani or Soto).

Strategy No. 3 — Just make the smartest move

The Giants have not overpaid in trades under Zaidi. Their biggest trade was to ship off a B-level prospect who was on the 40-man roster but a long ways away from the Majors for Kris Bryant. Arguably their second-biggest trade was to ship off Darin Ruf for a better version of him and prospects. This strategy means making the move that feels like the best deal, regardless of the quality of player or the position that they play. That probably means something like agreeing to eat Verlander’s contract in exchange for not having to give up any notable prospects. Or maybe finding a team that’s so desperate for passable starting pitching that they give you a quality bench bat and a hot prospect for Anthony DeSclafani.

Strategy No. 4 — Target a position

Do you think the Giants need a middle infielder? A starting pitcher? Right-handed power? A corner outfielder? A backup catcher? Choose your weakness and target it.

Strategy No. 5 — Dance with the one who brung ya

If you do think the Giants need a middle infielder, that means assuming that either Casey Schmitt, Brett Wisely, or David Villar will figure it out, or Brandon Crawford and Thairo Estrada will return and stay healthy, or Marco Luciano will emerge. Starting pitcher? Ross Stripling is pitching much better, maybe one of Anthony DeSclafani/Alex Wood/Sean Manaea figures it out, and hey ... ever heard of Kyle Harrison? Right-handed power? Heliot Ramos can hold it down until Mitch Haniger returns. Backup catcher? Is Joey Bart not on the 40-man roster?

Strategy No. 6 — Sell

Spooked by the losing streak? Still think the Giants are blundering doofuses who are kidding themselves if they try to compete this year? This strategy means selling high on Wilmer Flores and Joc Pederson’s hot streaks, finding a contending team that wants to take their chance on Anthony DeSclafani, Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling, or Alex Wood, and restocking for the future.

Well, pick on.

What time do the Giants play today?

The Giants kick off a two-game series with the Oakland A’s tonight at 6:45 p.m. PT.