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Seller at Deadline, SF has coveted pieces

Cueto, Samardzija and Moore likely to draw interest as Giants look to '18
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Unaccustomed to operating in anything but "win now" mode, the Giants likely will downshift into a "win soon" strategy as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. San Francisco hopes to acquire players who can usher the club back to respectability by 2018 and beyond.

Spectators in baseball's power surge, the Giants will seek a lively bat or two to help them reduce the disparity between themselves and the other 29 Major League clubs. Of course, playing home games at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park may leave the Giants forever at a disadvantage in the pursuit of power -- at least until another Barry Bonds comes along.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Unaccustomed to operating in anything but "win now" mode, the Giants likely will downshift into a "win soon" strategy as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. San Francisco hopes to acquire players who can usher the club back to respectability by 2018 and beyond.

Spectators in baseball's power surge, the Giants will seek a lively bat or two to help them reduce the disparity between themselves and the other 29 Major League clubs. Of course, playing home games at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park may leave the Giants forever at a disadvantage in the pursuit of power -- at least until another Barry Bonds comes along.

:: 2017 Midterm Report: Complete coverage ::

The Giants will consider proven hitters and prospects alike -- preferably outfielders. Potential acquisitions don't have to possess the power to clear AT&T Park's walls regularly. They just have to be capable of correcting the club's offensive imbalance. Too often, San Francisco's lineup consisted of two outfielders hitting sixth or lower. That's not how batting orders are supposed to look.

The Giants have the commodity that most contending clubs seek: starting pitching. Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore are likely to draw varying levels of interest. With baseball's fourth-highest payroll, San Francisco can accept a big contract as long as it can jettison one of its own.

Video: SF@PIT: Samardzija throws two-run ball against Bucs

TRADE SCENARIO
Cueto likely would be a rental, given the opt-out clause in his contract that he can exercise after this season. But what a rental he'd be. He has proven that he relishes the spotlight, pitching complete games in his past two postseason appearances. For the Giants, the drawback would lie in not being able to receive equal value in return, due to Cueto's "rental" status. But if a market develops for Cueto, the Giants might be able to fetch one or even two legitimate prospects for him.

WHAT ARE THEY PLAYING FOR?
As mentioned, the Giants already have their sights set on 2018. The rest of this season is essentially a warmup for Spring Training as the front office determines which incumbents to keep and which prospects belong on the fast track.

THE ROAD AHEAD
As many as three National League West rivals -- the Dodgers, D-backs and Rockies -- could be seeking postseason spots. The Giants face these teams 17 times in 20 games between Sept. 4-27. This stretch could provide an intriguing test for the younger Giants who consider themselves ready for prime time.

KEY PLAYER
Sam Dyson. The Rangers' castoff has converted his last three save opportunities and has gone unscored upon in 10 of his past 12 appearances. He could be the shutdown setup man or even part-time closer the Giants need.

Video: SF@DET: Dyson retires Kinsler to record save

PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Right-hander Tyler Beede might get a Major League look as a starter, despite his erratic performance in Triple-A Sacramento's rotation. Otherwise, you've already seen most of them: Christian Arroyo, Austin Slater, Jae-Gyun Hwang, Orlando Calixte, Ryder Jones, Kyle Crick ... and more could be on the way.

Giants Top 30 Prospects

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.

San Francisco Giants