Should the SF Giants get in on the Los Angeles Angels fire sale?

SF Giants are still in the playoff picture. Could they use some of the Angels’ discarded players?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Angels responded to Shohei Ohtani’s UCL injury and the team’s exit from the playoff picture with a stunning salary dump fire sale.

According to ESPN, the team waived starter Lucas Giolito, relievers Reynaldo López and former Giants Matt Moore and Dominic Leone, as well as outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Randal Grichuk. This allows the San Francisco Giants to sign one of those players while only paying the remaining balance on their contract. All would be rental players with expiring contracts who would become free agents in the offseason.

Perhaps the Angels are motivated by the possibility of saving more than $7 million if all of the players are claimed. This is significant because it would bring owner Arte Moreno’s team below the luxury tax threshold.

Because the Giants would not have to give up any assets in exchange, it would be worthwhile to consider entering the waiver claim line for one (or more?) of the listed players if they are serious about making a postseason push. Their mediocre record may provide them with an advantage over other contenders.

After the 2019 season, new rules state that a player placed on waivers is irrevocable, which means the Angels cannot take a player off waivers for a team willing to make a trade to get ahead of the line. The team that receives each player will be determined by reverse-order record, which means that the team with the worst current record that makes a claim on a player will receive him. The players will be eligible for the postseason if they make the 40-man roster before August 31 and active rosters expand to 28 players on September 1.

So, technically, the Oakland A’s, who have the worst record in baseball, could claim all of the players on waivers. But why would a tanking team do something like that? With worse records than the Giants, the likely contenders are the San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins, and possibly the Cincinnati Reds.

The Giants haven’t had a strong starting rotation all season, so Giolito, despite his 4.45 ERA, could be appealing. He’d almost certainly jump to the top of the rotation alongside Logan Webb, forming a formidable group with Alex Cobb, the rising Kyle Harrison, and possibly Tristan Beck.

There’s also some roster math to consider. Do the Giants intend to bring in more outfielders? Mitch Haniger’s return from the IL on Tuesday and Mike Yastrzemski’s impending return make the outfield picture a little too crowded for a new face, unless the team decides that right-handers Renfroe or Grichuk can provide the oomph they’ve been lacking.

With rosters expanding from 26 to 28 players on Friday, the Giants could enter the bidding for lefty Moore, a former Giant, and Lopez as bullpen additions.

Other teams looking to save money are also putting some big names on waivers. The Yankees’ outfielder Harrison Bader, the Mets’ right-handed pitcher Carlos Carrasco, and the White Sox’s right-handed pitcher Mike Clevinger will all be on waivers. According to The Athletic, the Tigers will place reliever José Cisnero on waivers.

Things may become interesting.

Changes to the roster

Haniger was activated from the 60-day injured list after recovering from a right arm fracture and was immediately slotted into the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game, playing left field. To make room on the active roster, outfielder Heliot Ramos was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento, and outfielder Bryce Johnson was designated for assignment.

Yastrzemski, who has been out with a left hamstring strain, is expected to return to the lineup soon.

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