Giants Hot Stove: In-house free agents

November 1, 2011, 5:40 pm
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Now that the Hot Stove League has officially begun, you're going to start hearing quite a bit about various teams picking up or declining the 2012 options of their eligible players, keeping them in the fold or cutting them loose for free agency.You won't hear any such news regarding the Giants, however. The only player on whom they held an option was left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt, and they acted quickly to take care of that bit of business Sunday by picking up Affeldt's 5 million tab for next season.NEWS: Giants pick up Affeldt's 5 million option
That, along with the signing of fellow southpaw bullpenner Javier Lopez, reduces the number of potential Giants free agents to six, and with 13 players eligible for arbitration, the no-longer-defending world champs still have a whopping 19 decisions to make, and fairly soon.NEWS: Giants re-sign Javier Lopez
The top priorities for now, though, will be their own free agents. Each team has an exclusive window in which to negotiate with their guys who are eligible to hit the open market this winter, and that window closes Thursday.
Topping the free-agent list for the Giants, of course, is Carlos Beltran, and it'll be a shock -- to say the least -- if a deal is struck with the multi-talented outfielder before Friday.In fact, based on what San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean has been hinting since the end of the regular season, it'd be a bit of a shock if Beltran returns at any time.Just as it'll be a shock if the team lands any of the big-name free agents expected to be available, a class headlined by Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder and Jimmy Rollins. Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham, among others, are up there, too, followed by lesser lights -- but still quality players -- such as Coco Crisp.Might Sabean be sandbagging? Sure, but that's never really been his style. He's an awfully straight shooter and always has been.Behind Beltran among potential Giants free agents are outfielders Cody Ross and Pat Burrell, infielders Mark DeRosa and Orlando Cabrera, and righty reliever Guillermo Mota.Who might be returning? It's safe to rule out Cabrera and Burrell, but Ross, DeRosa and Mota all make sense on some level depending on the price tag.It seems highly unlikely that the Giants would be wiling to pay Ross the 6.3 million he made in 2011, or drop anywhere close to the 6-million that DeRosa average over the past two season. But Ross has said he wants to come back, and there's at least a modicum of mutual interest.DeRosa? He's been golfing on a regular basis, so his wrist is obviously sound, but it might take him being willing to sign an incentive-heavy deal that starts with something like a 1 million base salary.As for Mota, hey, the guy made the team and quietly played a key role in the bullpen in each of the past two seasons after getting invited to spring training on a minor-league deal. He made a tad less than 1 million last season, and it seems like he's earned a similar reward for his underrated contributions while filling multiple roles.It's Tuesday and the clock is ticking, folks. The stove is heating up. This is when Sabean starts earning his money -- by spending the money of others.How would you spend it -- or not -- while that exclusive window remains open?

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