A couple of years ago, as the Giants traded some of their better prospects for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria, executives around the NL West smiled. They weren't particularly worried about a team that had lost 98 games the year before, and they knew the Giants should have been taking a step back and loading up on prospects instead of going all-in on veterans.
It's tempting to take that view whenever a division rival goes big, selling off parts of the future in a desperate bid to accelerate present plans. Perhaps you see the San Diego Padres going all-in over the last 48 hours and feel it makes for an easier future path for the Giants. But you shouldn't.
The Padres appear to be threading the needle quite nicely, and for the Giants, that helps clarify the postseason race both now and in the future.
There is no NL West race for the Giants this season, of course. But A.J. Preller's spending spree still will impact them.
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The Giants face the Padres seven times over their final 24 games, and all of a sudden, the big league roster is loaded, with the Monday morning addition of pitcher Mike Clevinger, adding an ace to a team that already was third in the NL in winning percentage and has worked to fill holes ahead of the deadline:
The Giants entered deadline day at 17-19, half a game out of the final postseason spot. The margins are so tight this season that seeing this version of the Padres so often down the stretch could impact their playoff hopes.
But even being in the race over the final week will kind of be found money for a team that wasn't expected to contend even before losing Buster Posey. The Giants always have had their eye on 2021 and beyond, and that's why they're probably not smiling in the offices at Third and King today.
The Padres have shed a lot of prospects over the last couple of days, but only one -- Taylor Trammell, who was sent to the Mariners for Austin Nola -- ranks in their top five. They acquired Clevinger, who is under team control for two more seasons, without touching MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams or Luis Patino, instead sending prospect depth to the Cleveland Indians. They are strong now and will continue to be a contender into future years, with Fernando Tatis Jr., perhaps the best player in the NL, leading the way.
This isn't quite a two-horse race in the NL West, because the Dodgers are that good, but no matter what happens the rest of the way, the Giants will head into this offseason knowing they potentially have two powers in the division entering 2021 and 2022, without expanded playoff fields. Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris already knew they had their work cut out for them in trying to eventually catch the Dodgers one day. They've done a nice job, and their own farm system is loaded to the point that one day they can easily do what Preller just did when the Giants are in position to make postseason noise, but getting to that position might have become a bit more difficult Monday morning.
How Mike Clevinger trade, Padres making multiple moves, impacts Giants originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area