Sabean: Lincecum in position to re-invent himself
The Giants last had contact with Ryan Theriot around the winter meetings in December. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN FRANCISCO – Sounds like someone else will have to throw handfuls of sunflower seeds, chuck protein bars and stop clubhouse traffic with their fashion risks.
The Giants have “lost contact” with Ryan Theriot, said GM Brian Sabean.
Sabean said the club “made an overture” to the veteran infielder around the winter meetings in December, but his agent wanted more time to explore other opportunities. Since then, the two sides have not talked.
The club has Wilson Valdez, Tony Abreu and Kensuke Tanake to compete for a backup infield job. Don’t count out minor leaguer Nick Noonan, who had a much improved season at Triple-A Fresno last season.
Theriot, from what I understand, was looking for more playing time. That’s going to be hard for the Giants to pledge now that Marco Scutaro is back on a three-year contract.
Theriot lost the second base job to Scutaro in late July, but was the DH in Game 4 of the World Series and scored the tiebreaking run as the Giants completed a sweep of the Detroit Tigers.
Now he’s being described like a satellite on the fritz.
“We’ve lost contact,” Sabean said.
No big surprise, but Sabean said he’s open to discussing a multiyear extension with Buster Posey this spring.
The two sides avoided arbitration on a one-year, $8 million contract. Posey has three additional arb years remaining before he’d become a free agent. The club usually seeks cost certainty in these situations, and the player usually seeks the security of guaranteed money. Sounds like there’s plenty of agreement to find a deal that works for all parties.
Barry Zito probably won’t have his $18 million option picked up for 2014, but he wants to retire as a Giant and sees himself pitching into his 40s, if his body allows. Sabean said Zito is “in the same boat” as Lincecum in that the club will be open minded, but there isn’t much chance on discussions for an extension before the season ends.
As you’ve probably heard, Pablo Sandoval is sick and wasn’t at Friday’s media session, nor is he likely to be able to attend FanFest.
And yes, the Venezuelan Winter League championship series MVP (and also World Series MVP) does need to do a few sit-ups.
“We do have some work to do getting him ready for the season,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll be working hard on the conditioning side.”
Madison Bumgarner said he started throwing after New Year’s and after searching for awhile, he is more confident that he’ll be back to his consistent self when the spring begins.
“I don’t want to ever go through something like that again,” said Bumgarner, who wore down in September and was pulled from the playoff rotation before making a triumphant comeback in Game 2 of the World Series. “I think I’ve fixed everything that could be fixed.”
Right-hander Ramon Ramirez is not expected to report along with pitchers and catchers on Tuesday because he’s likely to experience a delay in getting his visa approved, Sabean said. That’s a function of having just recently signed with the club on a minor league contract.
Minor league pitcher Jose Valdez also could experience a visa delay, Sabean said.
However, the biggest visa news concerns one that was approved. Power-hitting first baseman Angel Villalona, whose career was halted while he faced a murder charge that ultimately was dismissed in the Dominican Republic, had his visa approved after more than a year of red tape and will be in Scottsdale.
Sabean said he did not anticipate that Villalona would be a distraction, even though he reportedly paid the victim’s family.
“I don’t know how he will be (a distraction),” Sabean said. “He’s been cleared by Major League Baseball and the visa process. He’s just another player in camp.”
Encouraging reports from lefties Eric Surkamp and Dan Runzler. Surkamp’s Tommy John rehab is going as expected and he expects to be ready to pitch in games by July. And Runzler told me he’s 100 percent after upper back/shoulder strains that derailed him for most of last season.
Sergio Romo was his normal, bubbly self. He declined to discuss the New Year’s Day incident at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, for which he will not face charges.
[RELATED: DA declines Romo case]
Bochy got to play Augusta National over the winter. How did he describe it?
“Like Disneyland for adults,” he said. “The most beautiful man-made place I’ve ever been.”
Next to AT&T Park, of course.