SAN FRANCISCO — The Los Angeles Angels responded to Shohei Ohtani’s UCL injury and team’s fall out of the playoff picture with a stunning fire sale.
The team placed starter Lucas Giolito, relievers Matt Moore and Reynaldo López, and outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Randal Grichuk on waivers, according to ESPN. This presents an opportunity for the San Francisco Giants to add one of those players while only having to pay what remains on their contract. All would be rentals are on expiring contracts, set to be free agents in the offseason.
Because they wouldn’t have to offer up any assets in exchange, it’d be worth the Giants exploring jumping into the waiver claim line for one (or more?) of the listed players if they’re adamant about making a postseason push. Their mediocre record may give them an edge over other contenders.
New rules after the 2019 season stipulate that a player placed on waivers is irrevocable, meaning the Angels cannot take a player off waivers for a team willing to make a trade to jump the line. The team that gets each player will be determined by reverse-order record, so the team with the worst current record that places a claim on a player will receive him. The players will be postseason eligible if they make it to the 40-man roster before Aug. 31 and active rosters expand to 28 players on Sept. 1.
So, technically, the Oakland A’s — with the worst MLB record — could claim all the players on waivers. But why would a tanking team do that? The San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins and perhaps the Cincinnati Reds are the likely contenders with worse records than the Giants. The New York Yankees could get involved, though their postseason odds are next to none.
There’s some roster math to consider, too. Do the Giants want to add more outfielders? Mitch Haniger’s return from the IL on Tuesday and Mike Yastrzemski’s imminent return make the outfield picture a bit too crowded for a new face unless the team decides right-handers Renfroe or Grichuk could add the oomph they’ve lacked.
With expanded rosters on the horizon, perhaps the Giants would get in on the bidding for some pitching help out of lefty Moore, a former Giant, and Lopez as bullpen additions.
The Giants haven’t had robust starting rotation all season so Giolito, a top tier starter despite his 4.45 ERA, may be attractive. Things could get interesting.
Mitch Haniger was activated off the 60-day IL coming off a right arm fracture and placed straight away into the lineup for Tuesday’s game, playing left field. Outfielder Heliot Ramos was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento to make room on the active roster and outfielder Bryce Johnson was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, out with a left hamstring strain, is likely to return to the lineup in the coming days.
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