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Trading Andrew McCutchen Offers Benefits Beyond Salary Relief for San Francisco Giants

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 17: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the San Francisco Giants hits a single during the eighth inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 17, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated San Francisco 2-1 in 11 innings. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 17: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the San Francisco Giants hits a single during the eighth inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 17, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated San Francisco 2-1 in 11 innings. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds series was a total disaster for the San Francisco Giants. And, the Mets series did not look any better. Placing Andrew McCutchen through waivers is hardly surprising at this point.

The purpose of placing McCutchen on waivers was to test his market. The San Francisco Giants wanted to see if another team would claim him. If one did, they could unload the remainder of McCutchen’s contract on the claiming team.

However, that did not happen. McCutchen went unclaimed. This is not a bad thing, either. Contending teams, wouldn’t that swell if the Giants were contending, still have a need for outfield help.

Cleveland and the New York Yankees are two teams with outfield vacancies. Passing McCutchen through waivers gives the Giants the flexibility to work out a trade with any team, rather than just the claiming team. It appears that is what the Giants intend to do:

If the Giants trade McCutchen, the primary benefit will be the salary relief from trading his contract. However, the secondary benefit will be the available playing time for some of the younger players.

The San Francisco Giants will need to see more of Austin Slater. Additionally, Chris Shaw has soaked up all of the development he will experience in Sacramento. Both Slater and Shaw need playing time.

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The reason for this is obvious: the Giants will head into this offseason with no outfielder under contract. This excludes the ones under their rookie contracts such as Shaw, Slater, and Steven Duggar.

As a result, it would behoove the Giants to see what they have in their rookies. The Giants are oddly reluctant to give their rookies an opportunity. However, if all of the veterans are traded away, then jokes on them, they’ll have to play some rookies.

The Giants probably like what they have seen from Duggar. It seems reasonable to pencil him into the 2019 lineup. However, if McCutchen departs, that will leave a void at either corner outfield spot.

Trading him now will give the Giants an opportunity to see what they have in their rookies.

There are few reasons to keep McCutchen on the team. He adds chemistry and is relatively productive. However, trading him away gives the Giants the flexibility to see what their rookies can offer.

From a roster building standpoint, that will go much further in improving the Giants long-term prospects than keeping McCutchen on the team for another month.

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