SF Giants: Five potential trades with the Miami Marlins
3. Garrett Cooper
If the SF Giants are eyeing improvements in the outfield and bullpen, a deal for Garrett Cooper and Dylan Floro could quickly become an intriguing combination. Floro, like Garcia, spent some time in Los Angeles while Zaidi was there and has been a fairly consistent middle-reliever for the past three seasons (111 innings pitched, 3.32 ERA, and 3.03 FIP). Cooper, on the other hand, has been a viable everyday corner bat with a particular propensity to hit against left-handed pitchers.
Austin Slater could fit in any number of moves, particularly with teams like Miami that are looking to compete in the near future. The 28-year-olds performance has taken a major step back from 2020, but he is still capable of playing average or better defense at all three outfield positions and, even in his down 2021 season, is hitting .231/.331/.444 against southpaws.
Cooper was placed on the injured list with a left elbow sprain (his non-throwing arm) last week, and he has not appeared in a game since July 18th. However, if his doctors are confident he can return to the field within a couple of weeks of the deadline, the Giants might be compelled to gamble on strengthening their lineup, particularly against lefties, heading into the final weeks of the season.
Primarily a platoon player early in his career, Cooper found a more consistent everyday role in 2021 and took advantage of the opportunity, hitting .284/.380/.465 before he was placed on the IL. For a Giants team that has been inconsistent against left-handed pitching all season, Cooper’s .344/.408/.563 triple-slash with the platoon advantage could make him even more enticing.
With that said, there are some large caveats besides his health. Cooper has run exorbitantly high BABIPs throughout his career, but his .374 mark in 2021 is easily the highest he’s posted in a season with at least 50 plate appearances. Cooper’s 2021 looks a lot like Slater’s 2020, and while Cooper has two more years of team control after this season through arbitration, that’s one fewer than Slater. If a team believes Slater is closer to the player he was last season than this season, the Giants might be better off betting on him improving in the second half than trading for a very similar player.
If the Giants do want to bet on Cooper’s longer track record, Slater alongside a couple of 40-grade prospects, like Luis Toribio and Carson Ragsdale, should be enough to get it done. The question is how does Zaidi, and the rest of MLB, view Slater’s future. Perhaps he could be a centerpiece in a deal for a better outfielder, like Marte, or the Giants are better off betting on a bounceback in the weeks to come.