- "No matter how you slot it [in the rotation], it's going to have to be somebody who can give you innings, make 32-plus starts at least, 200-plus innings, somebody with experience and hopefully somebody with a winning track record. That's a lot of boxes to check off." Yikes, they sound like they are describing Tomko, all except the winning part.
- With the free-agent market relatively thin for starting pitchers, the Giants know the prices for those players could inflate considerably, and Sabean isn't prepared to get into a bidding war. That sounds like good news, but according to my calculations, they don't have any money either so the only people they will be getting into a bidding war for is a utility player (catcher? :^).
- "You don't want to run the risk of a bad contract per se because of your need. Our dilemma is we're not going to overpay for the sake of need, and the last thing you need is to enter into a multiyear contract for too much money or too many years. You're going to have to be prepared to say no. So you're going to have to have some fallback positions." Hopefully, finally the lessons of Benard, Snow, and Nen are paying off.
- Those fallbacks include trading for an arbitration-eligible player that the current team can't afford or waiting for the new group of free agents that will emerge Dec. 20 when clubs must tender contracts to their existing players or have them become available to all teams. Sabean likes to tuck little bits of info like this, seemingly like an alternative option, "by the way" type of reference, when really, they are probably pretty much resigned to getting a player in this fashion - no free agent player out there really fit their needs perfectly, in terms of fit and salary, so they will have to beat the bushes in this way.
- Also high on Sabean's to-do list is re-signing lefty reliever Scott Eyre, who had a career year in 2005 and became one of the most reliable arms in the San Francisco bullpen. The Giants have offered Eyre a two-year deal with an option for a third year, but reports say Eyre's agent wants to test the market, which opens fully to all teams on Friday. If Eyre chooses to sign elsewhere, Sabean plans to obtain another reliever, "probably from the market," he said. Eyre is gone, in a recent interview, he says he wants three years, thinks he might get more, wants to play for a team near his home in Florida, but, by the way, the Giants are still his #1 priority. Huh?!? Hopefully the Giants can get two draft picks for him, but we'll see. I wonder who they will chase as a replacement.
- The Giants won't concern themselves with their other two free agents, first baseman J.T. Snow and right-hander Brett Tomko, until they've sorted out what other alternatives they might have to re-signing one or both of them. No way Snow comes back, he didn't hit well enough to warrant that, given the Giants emphasis on power. They would be better off giving Niekro a try and, if he fails, Snow should still be around in May, when the Giants could resign him again; I don't see anyone picking him up, his road numbers stunk this season after being tolerable the past few seasons. I thought Tomko was gone because he thinks he can get something similar to kris Benson money ($7M per season), but I think he'll be an afterthought signing late in the off-season, like other players expecting a lot (Aurilia comes to mind) so the Giants might end up back with him if he's still around then and we don't have a player signed yet.
- Ideally, the Giants would like to be methodical in their dealings this offseason, carefully weighing the free agents vs. the trade market and the possible non-tendered group of players, but Sabean knows he may not have that luxury. "There are so few names that I think we would be interested [in] or a lot of other clubs could be interested [as well] that you may have to act as things develop," he said. "I would like to be more diligent, to hold out for the right situation, but you're going to have to be prepared to step up and make a decision, and we'll do that, too." This comment scares me that they might make a bold move because of the circumstances. Hopefully they don't rush into anything, there doesn't seem to be any player who warrants a leap of faith this year, not like Vlad or Tejada a couple of years ago or Carlos Beltran last year.
Good, no Great, News
Read it and rejoice, let there be dancing in the streets: Neifi signs with the Cubs! I was worried that the Giants, looking for middle infield utility player might sniff around him again and have a redux (hey, they went after Shawon Dunston again, so you never know). Luckily he's apparently found a home in Chicago (with $5M over two years, he can afford to get a nice one there). He could also have been signed for ulterior purposes: he's good friends with Rafael Furcal and share the same agent and the Cubs apparently are interested.
I got a chuckle out of this quote from him: "It was tough to play in San Francisco. If you go 1-for-4, you have to go 2-for-2 every day to play in San Francisco." It would have been nice if he went 1-for-4 on average, then the Giants would not have had to dump him and his salary for nothing and play Cody Ransom at SS. We just needed him to hit a little bit to justify him playing SS and batting 8th, but he couldn't even do that for us. Good riddance, we never should have signed him in the first place, it was a big mistake, hopefully one that Colletti and Sabean learned from.