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SF Giants: 5 controllable MLB trade deadline targets

May 4, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton (25) jumps up and catches a fly ball in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton (25) jumps up and catches a fly ball in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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SF Giants, Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger (17) singles against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at T-Mobile Park. Could the SF Giants make a move for the Mountain View, California native? (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

The SF Giants are still leading the National League West into the first week of June. With one of the best records in MLB, it’s clear they are legitimate playoff contenders. While they have been in the wild-card hunt in the previous two seasons, the Giants have never been so clearly in the race under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. For the first time during his tenure, they are unequivocally positioned to be buyers at the MLB trade deadline.

Many options will be available to San Francisco. With one of the most improved farm systems in the league, the Giants have several high-profile prospects that could help them acquire a top-flight player without entirely gutting their minor league depth. At the same time, Zaidi has prioritized improving the organization’s prospects more than anything else.

The Giants may focus on acquiring proven veterans on expiring deals to strengthen the bullpen for a relatively small cost. However, there will be many young players with years of team control remaining that could become available. If they are interested in making a splash at the deadline, here are five controllable players that could top their list of targets.

5 controllable SF Giants trade targets: 1. Mitch Haniger

While the Giants have plenty of options in their outfield, the front office probably hopes to consolidate their depth at some point. Nearly every player consistently in manager Gabe Kapler’s lineup has severe platoon splits. The Giants seem to always face a roster crunch. That’s partly because the roster is so reliant on players who struggle against same-sided pitchers. Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger could go a long way towards addressing those issues.

A right-handed hitter, Haniger has a career .834 OPS against southpaws and .827 against right-handed pitching. Although he’s primarily played in right, he also has experience at all three outfield positions. While the Mariners have very quickly fallen out of postseason contention, Haniger has been a staple in the middle of their lineup. On the season, he has 14 home runs and a strong .262/.310/.524 triple-slash. Assuming Mike Yastrzemski returns from injury, Haniger or Yaz could easily shift to left field and give the Giants a formidable duo in the outfield corners.

The Mariners do have control of Haniger beyond 2021 through arbitration for one more season. However, set for free agency after 2022, Seattle might consider trying to maximize the prospect return for Haniger this summer. General manager Jerry Dipoto has previously targetted multiple prospect packages, willing to let a team retain its best prospects to get a deal done. That could align well with the Giants, who have a deep farm system but will presumably be unwilling to part with several of their best young pieces.

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