The trade deadline is right around the corner and the SF Giants might be interested in a Seattle Mariners outfielder, but it comes with a catch. Robert Murray of FanSided reports that while Mitch Haniger might be on the trade block, the Mariners would need to be “blown away” to pull the trigger.
SF Giants: Potential outfield trade target comes with high cost
The Giants have a couple of soft spots in the outfield in Alex Dickerson and Austin Slater, both of whom have been inconsistent in 2021. If the Giants look to make an upgrade to the lineup, the outfield should be where they look.
On paper, Haniger makes a lot of sense for San Francisco. The right-handed bat is under team control for one more year after this one and he is due for a raise from his modest $3 million salary for 2021. At that price point, he is still a relative bargain when factoring in cost against his production.
Haniger sustained an injury in 2019 that sidelined him for the entire 2020 season as well. That said, he looks to be at his pre-injury form as he has slashed .265/.322/.511 (133 OPS+) with 23 home runs, 66 runs, and 59 RBI while being worth 2.1 WAR across 394 plate appearances.
In the field, the 30-year-old has seen time only in right field this season, but the defensive metrics (-4 DRS, -2.2 UZR) are not a fan of his work. However, the Giants could afford to take a hit on defense given Haniger’s offensive upside. On top of this, the Giants boast one of the best defenses in baseball, so Haniger’s glove would not substantially impact the team’s overall performance.
The Giants certainly have a need to add an outfield bat like Haniger since Austin Slater (84 OPS+) and Alex Dickerson (96 OPS+) have struggled to return to their respective form from 2020. The addition of Haniger would cut into Slater’s playing time given that they both bat from the right side. Dickerson’s role might be in jeopardy as well as Haniger has posted a solid .791 OPS against right-handed pitching, which is typically the role that Dickerson fills.
In theory, Haniger would provide a sizable boost to the offense. However, cost is another factor that needs to be considered. If the Mariners need to be blown away, it would likely require a significant amount in prospect capital. Assuming Marco Luciano is untouchable, whereas Luis Matos and Heliot Ramos are unlikely to be moved either, the Giants would probably need to move multiple top organizational prospects.
SF Giants team president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has indicated that the team will weigh the present with the future at the trade deadline. With that in mind, it does not seem like they will be shopping in the Mitch Haniger Aisle. It would be a swell move, but the cost seems to be too high for where the Giants currently are in the competitive cycle.