SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are expected to announce the promotion of another farmhand, Triple-A outfielder Austin Slater, before Friday night's series opener at Philadelphia, an industry source told MLB.com.Thus, the Giants' makeover continues.Simply reaching .500 could be a tough task for the 22-33 Giants, who are on pace to
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are expected to announce the promotion of another farmhand, Triple-A outfielder Austin Slater, before Friday night's series opener at Philadelphia, an industry source told MLB.com.
Thus, the Giants' makeover continues.
Simply reaching .500 could be a tough task for the 22-33 Giants, who are on pace to finish 65-97. That would be by far their worst record since manager Bruce Bochy took the helm in 2007. It also would be the Giants' worst record since the franchise's lone 100-loss season in 1985.
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Now may be an ideal time for the Giants to find out what assets they have in the Minor Leagues. Slater compiled a .322/.381/.460 slash line in 46 games with Triple-A Sacramento. He'll join outfielder Orlando Calixte, called up earlier this week, and third baseman Christian Arroyo, who has cooled off since he arrived in late April.
More prospects could be on the way. The recent elevation of power-hitting first baseman Chris Shaw from Double-A Richmond to Sacramento was significant. You might say that he's in the on-deck circle for big league exposure. So, too, are infielder-outfielder Ryder Jones, who has improved significantly in the last couple of years; third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang, whose skills remain intriguing; and, of course, right-hander Tyler Beede, the organization's top pitching prospect.
The makeover may involve more than just promoting top prospects. The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline soon will arrive. A cold, hard look at the roster might lead to the conclusion that Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey are the only "untouchable" players. However, many Giants probably are impossible to jettison, either because their performance levels are too low or their salaries are too high.
For instance, they may consider swapping Brandon Belt. However, the $17.2 million salary he's due annually from 2018-11 could eliminate him from practical trade consideration. Never mind the clause in his contract that enables him to block deals to 10 teams.
There is also the Johnny Cueto conundrum. He can opt out of his six-year, $130 million contract after this season. Unless the Giants sustain a remarkable rise back into contention, they could be forced to trade the charismatic right-hander to avoid being left empty-handed before he elects to return to free agency.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.