Why it might be tough for the SF Giants to sell at the MLB trade deadline

San Francisco Giants Introduce Jung Hoo Lee
San Francisco Giants Introduce Jung Hoo Lee / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants have the third-worst winning percentage in the NL with a 36-41 record. With the MLB trade deadline a little over a month away, they look more like sellers than buyers. That said, selling might not be a realistic option for this front office.

Why it might be tough for the SF Giants to sell at the MLB trade deadline

If the Giants do decide to sell, we looked at three players who are most likely to be dealt. Unfortunately, selling would be a tough admission that this Giants roster just is not good enough to compete.

It is an even tougher admission that the Giants are running in place with Farhan Zaidi being in his sixth season with the club. The Giants extended the team president of baseball operations through the 2026 season last offseason. The purpose of this was to create some sense of stability between the front office and incoming manager Bob Melvin.

That said, it is hard to make the case that it was warranted. The Giants have finished with a winning record just once during his tenure. That came during an improbable 107-win season with a roster led by many of the team's holdovers from the prior regime. Of course, Zaidi deserves credit for that season as he made several shrewd additions as well.

However, one good season out of six is just not going to cut it. When Zaidi took over in November in 2018, Giants fans knew that turning the organization around would be a long process. Even the most patient fans likely do not accept where the Giants are at in Zaidi's sixth year on the job.

The front office put a lot of eggs in the basket for this season. They made several, high-profile moves led by Jung Hoo Lee, Matt Chapman, and Blake Snell. Perhaps, it is unfair to blame a front office that seemingly did everything it could to put together a competitive roster. The players on the field deserve some of the blame as well.

However, the team has committed $256 million against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) for 2024. That mark is not only a franchise record, but it is nearly $20 million above the CBT threshold of $237 million. As first-time offenders, the Giants will pay a tax on the overage. That tax is projected to be about $3.8 million according to Cot's. That is not a huge expense for a billion-dollar organization.

Though, it bears mentioning that this offseason could have long-term ramifications. The Giants lost their second-and-third-round picks for 2024 by signing Matt Chapman and Blake Snell, respectively. Both Chapman and Snell had rejected qualifying offers from their prior teams in the offseason.

The front office nearly went 10 years without signing a player who had rejected a qualifying offer. Then, they signed two players in the same offseason within about three weeks of each other. It was an interesting choice by the front office. It is also hard to ignore that Zaidi likely made this choice in part due to the realization of his own tenuous hold on his job and that need to put an immediate winner on the field.

Only a couple months after signing both Chapman and Snell, it would be a tough message to decide to sell at the trade deadline. One that the ownership group might not be too keen to hear after investing as much money as they have on the roster.

The Giants could sell at the trade deadline. Though, it might come with the acceptance that Zaidi might not be long for this position.

If the team continues to struggle by the trade deadline, they could follow an approach that they had in 2022 where they went with a modest sell off. Perhaps, it could be a combination of buying and selling. I do not know if the messaging is any different with these options.

In the meantime, the front office is likely hoping that the club can find its stride in July, making a decision to buy all the more easier. This is all to say, that if some form of selling is on the table by the time the end of July rolls around, it is hard to envision a scenario where Zaidi keeps his job for much longer.