The Giants last season again had some big decisions to make ahead of the MLB trade deadline. They could have looked to move players like Kevin Gausman, but opted to stand pat and compete for the expanded playoffs.
That plan nearly worked to perfection, too. The Giants just missed out on making the postseason after losing their final three games. But expanded playoffs won't be a thing this season and the Giants might have to sell before the July 31 deadline if the front office believes they aren't true contenders.
ESPN's Buster Olney can easily see that happening.
Gausman tops Olney's list of 14 impact players who could be dealt this season. The Giants re-signed Gausman on the one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer this offseason. After signing him to a one-year, $9 million deal the year before, Gausman was the ace of the rotation and struck out 79 batters in 59 2/3 innings.
The Giants liked Gausman so much they have talked about keeping him long-term in San Francisco. In this case, they could send him to a contender for future assets with the hopes of still signing him in the offseason as other teams have done with free agents in the past.
Right behind Gausman on Olney's list are the Giants' two Brandons: Crawford and Belt. Both players made their MLB debuts in 2011 and have served key roles in bringing championships to San Francisco. However, they both also have contracts that end after this season.
Crawford bounced back nicely last season and hit .256 with eight home runs in 54 games. His .792 OPS was a career-high and he still plays great defense at shortstop despite being 34 years old.
Belt is the one who really broke out last season. The veteran first baseman has frustrated fans in the past with his lack of power. That changed in 2020. Belt had career-highs in batting average (.309), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.591) and OPS (1.105). He hit eight homers in 51 games and finished 16th in NL MVP voting.
The final player on Olney's list is Giants left-handed pitcher Alex Wood. The Giants signed Wood to a one-year contract and he can fill many roles. He's on a cheap contract and could help a contender as a starter or reliever.
Of course, the Giants would much rather be in a position to add this July than subtract. But if they see themselves in that spot, they could have some attractive pieces that might bring back young assets to a rising farm system.