The Los Angeles Angels surprised many recently by placing a handful of productive veterans on waivers. The SF Giants likely were interested in a handful of options, but ultimately came up empty handed as teams were officially awarded claims on Thursday.
SF Giants come up empty handed in flurry of waiver claims around league
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Cleveland Guardians ended up with Lucas Giolito, Matt Moore, and Reynaldo López. On the other hand, Hunter Renfroe and Harrison Bader were scooped up by the Cincinnati Reds, whereas Dominic Leone was claimed by the Seattle Mariners.
Five of the six players listed were placed on waivers by the Angels. Bader is the lone exception as the New York Yankees appear to be waving the white flag as well. Interestingly, Randal Grichuk (Angels), Mike Clevinger (Chicago White Sox), and Carlos Carrasco (New York Mets) were among those who cleared waivers.
There were a handful of players who could have helped the Giants. In particular, Moore could have bolstered the bullpen from the left side, whereas López would have offered a reliever with good strikeout totals.
On the position player side, the case could be made that Renfroe and Bader could have helped the outfield. Renfroe brings good power and Bader is a solid defensive center fielder. Though, the Giants do seem content with their current group of outfielders.
Mitch Haniger and Mike Yastrzemski returned earlier this week whereas the Giants hope that Michael Conforto can return in relatively short order after sustaining a hamstring strain. The trio of outfielders have not played together much this season, but all three have a track record of production.
Renfroe and Bader would have added to an outfield group that the Giants already see as crowded. So, there were potential upgrades to make, but at the end of the day, waiver priority takes precedent.
The Guardians and Reds had worse records at 64-70 and 69-66, respectively. So, they held a higher waiver priority than most teams in the playoff picture and they used that to their advantage by blocking other teams from making late-season additions. The Giants likely put in claims on several of the available players, but at 69-64, they just did not have priority over teams like the Guardians and Reds.
Interestingly, the San Diego Padres (62-72) had an even higher priority, but did not make a claim for any of the players. This was the same team that traded for Rich Hill and Ji Man Choi from the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this month. Is that a recognition that they are too far out of the playoff picture? Or, given that they are over the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT), did they consider that the added tax was not worth the benefit?
We may not find out the answers to these questions. However, the Giants came up empty handed and there was not much they could do to change that outcome.