As the August 31st MLB trade deadline inches closer, the SF Giants seem poised to be in on the action. One industry source tells Around the Foghorn’s Marc Delucchi that the Giants “biggest asset” may not be what you think.
The SF Giants have a bevy of options as the August 31st trade deadline approaches. After closing out the first half of their season on a hot streak, the Giants are in legitimate postseason contention. At the same time,
In a conversation with Around the Foghorn, an industry source familiar with the situation explained, “[The SF Giants] biggest asset is money. [The SF Giants] ownership group is in better financial shape than most.”
There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the world economy. While the United States and countries around the world face some of the largest economic downturns in history, many billionaires have actually seen their wealth increase.
Still, leagues and owners around the world of sports have remained adamant that the loss in revenue sparked by the pandemic could force franchise values to plummet, many ownership groups to sell, and possibly even force the league to downsize. It’s worth noting that no major sports leagues have seen such things occur.
Regardless of the justifiability of such moves, many teams are clearly cutting costs. Major League Baseball condensed the draft from 40 to just five rounds, with some ownership groups advocating for canceling the draft altogether. Teams have laid off, furloughed, or released thousands of part and full-time employees, which included hundreds of minor-league players.
As the deadline approaches, it’s obvious that money will have an even larger impact on player movement than normal. Some contending teams may be more tentative than usual to take on salary. Other teams may be even more desperate to move sizable contracts as well. If the Giants are willing to add salary, they’d be well-positioned to take advantage.
San Francisco Chronicle Giants beat writer Henry Schulman suggested on Twitter that teams may be especially aggressive trying to move 2021 salary with so much uncertainty ahead.
Schulman mentioned Johnny Cueto, who’s owed over $20MM in 2021, as someone who fell into that category for the Giants. However, in their conversation with Around the Foghorn, the industry source seemed to downplay the likelihood of the Giants covering some of Cueto’s salary to clear the books in 2021.
"“[The Giants] could get a better return by taking more of the money. I think other teams are probably looking to shed money more than they are looking to limit the amount of new money that they take on. That probably makes a Cozart/Wilson scenario more likely.”"
The “Cozart/Wilson scenario” refers to a trade made last offseason between the Giants and Los Angeles Angels.
Before signing Anthony Rendon, the Angels organization decided to unload Zack Cozart‘s roughly $13MM salary to balance costs. The Giants agreed to send minor-league pitcher Garrett Williams to the Angels in exchange for Cozart and the Angels 2019 1st-round pick Will Wilson. The Giants released Cozart, but Wilson currently ranks as the 11th-best prospect in the SF Giants farm system.
While the source did not mention any specific teams looking to move salary, it’s not hard to find contracts around baseball that teams might hope to offload.
As has been the trend throughout Farhan Zaidi’s tenure as the president of baseball operations for the SF Giants, the team is expected to be involved in a number of transactions before the deadline. They’ve already made a minor acquisition but could be positioned to use their financial might to make a splash.