Sabean: 'There won't be a big splash'

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Sabean: 'There won't be a big splash'

The Giants will not go after big-name free agents like Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, according to GM Brian Sabean.

On a conference call with reporters following the announcement of extensions for the Giants' GM and manager Bruce Bochy, Sabean said that San Francisco will not pursue the aforementioned 'Big Three' players of the 2012 free agent class.

"There won't be a big splash," Sabean said. "We are in concert with team president and incoming CEO Larry Baer and our partnership that our pitching is our gold standard. Whatever we attempt we have to make sure we take care of that commodity first."

While Sabean said that talks with two of his biggest commodities -- Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain -- are in progress, he offered no significant details about the negotiations.

"We've had an exchange of ideas and some conversations about numbers but with so many other things going on timing has not advanced very far down the road," vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said.

The one big free agent bat the Giants may still go after is midseason acquisition Carlos Beltran. Sabean sent top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to the New York Mets for Beltran, who is now reportedly receiving interest from American League teams that can offer him more years with the security of the designated hitter rule.

While Sabean expressed interest in retaining Beltran's services, he also made it clear that the Giants have to be careful with long-term contract offers.

"The best way to phrase it is, he is a consideration but terms will be an issue with anybody we pursue," Sabean said. "Whether its Beltran or anybody else, we have a very definitive game plan on each conversation on what we think is a reasonable length.

If the Giants don't bring back Beltran, Sabean and Bochy both made it clear that they expect a marked improvement from a historically bad offensive output in 2011. The reason for those expectations surround the return of Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez and the assumption that Aubrey Huff will bounce back from his disappointing second season in San Francisco.

Sabean also acknowledged that the limited options available for the Giants in free agency means the team will have to lean more on its homegrown talent for help.

"Our priority is more offense," Sabean said. "In finding more offense we have to explore more options within, give due consideration to our players here first, our younger players, see whether they're ready to take over."
Rael Enteen is a web producer with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @RaelEnteenCSN

With Duffy's uncertain health, Rays reportedly trade for another shortstop

With Duffy's uncertain health, Rays reportedly trade for another shortstop

When the Rays acquired Matt Duffy from the Giants last July, they envisioned the then-third baseman as their everyday shortstop.

But the Achilles injury that hampered him with the Giants hasn't fully healed. He hasn't played in a major league game this season and played in just 21 games after the trade last season.

While Duffy is making progress in his latest attempt to get back on the field, the Rays have reportedly acquired a new shortstop.

Tampa Bay and the Miami Marlins have agreed to a deal that would send slick-fielding Adeiny Hechavarria to the Rays for two minor leaguers, according to multiple reports.

As for Duffy, he missed all of spring training due to irritation in his Achillies. He began a rehab assignment in May, but that lasted just three games. Recently, the Rays sent Duffy back to the doctor that performed the operation on his heal last year. According to TampaBay.com, Dr. Bob Anderson removed a calcium deposit that was causing Duffy to be in pain.

"We're hoping that that is what's been causing all the irritation because it was taken right from the spot where he gets most of this pain," Rays manager Kevin Cash told TampaBay.com on Friday.

Once the stitches heal from this latest operation, Duffy should be able to resume baseball activities and start a rehab assignment shortly after that. In the meantime, Hechavarria, who has been on the DL with an oblique strain, will likely become the Rays starting shortstop.

Not a chicken-and-egg discussion: Three reasons why Giants are so boring

Not a chicken-and-egg discussion: Three reasons why Giants are so boring

To best understand what has happened to the San Francisco Giants, one must first decide whether or not they have abandoned hope, or just energy.

I mean, that is the new kneejerk position based on losing 18 of 22 games this month by an average margin of more than a run and a half per game, losing to the Phillies, Royals, Braves and Mets, falling five games behind the San Diego Padres and eight games behind the non-noisy neighbors in Oakland, and since the All-Star Break last year, they are 57-93, the equivalent of the third-worst record in franchise history.

Really, to see a happy thing in this team other than Buster Posey is an act of rankest delusion. What hope would you expend on this team?

But there’s a new element involved now, if you take Ken Rosenthal’s report for FoxSports.com on the team’s internal crises at face value.

Apparently the Giants are boring their own management.

According to Rosenthal, the almost stultifying quiet of the clubhouse has become a concern to general manager Bobby Evans and perhaps even to those to whom he reports.

In citing the contributions of such ‘edgy” personalities as Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff in 2010, Hunter Pence in ’12 and Pence, Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval (huh?) in ’14, Rosenthal suggested that the team is too staid – something that winning 38 percent of your games for an entire calendar year will do to you.

“I don’t think I can be definitive in my answers,” Evans was quoted by Rosenthal as saying, “but it’s not lost on us that we’re maybe a little quieter clubhouse than we’ve been in the past. I can’t answer that as being a factor or not.” He then followed up with the always circuitous they’d-be-louder-if-we-weren’t-such-a-tedious-watch argument, which seems self-evident but can’t really be proven one way or another.

But Rosenthal also credited “some with the Giants” as suggesting that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who allegedly help unite the clubhouse because so few of them liked him.

And now we’ve hit the motherlode of bizarre excuses. Angel Pagan is hurting the Giants far more by leaving them than by being with them. And this is, if you’ll pardon the expression, richly stupid.

Not Rosenthal, whom we can presume did his usual diligent work and correctly quoted “some with.” No, our problem is with the thinking that inspired “some with,” because you have to go a long way to make that explanation stick.

The Giants are playing terribly because, well, they are. Their pitching, which has to be in the top sixth of the league for this plan to work, is below average in many of the important metrics. Their offense is horrendous. Their outfield is a disaster. They are 27-51 purely on the merits.

That they are also boring is coincidence rather than causation, because nobody said they were boring after the All-Star Break last year, and nobody accused them of being boring in Game 4 of the National League Division Series with Chicago.

Boring is what you seize on when every other excuse, including the Mark Melancon-doesn’t-stretch-when-he’s-supposed-to straw man Rosenthal also threw up for chewing.

The truth is this, as much as anything. They are bad. They didn’t think they would be bad. They thought the second half of last year was an aberration rather than a harbinger, and they thought they could have gone to the World Series but for one hideous inning. And they are apparently shocked by this for some reason.

So, are they moping, or are they quitting? Do they need a clubhouse visit from Brian Sabean at his most pissed? What’s the thing that makes them fun guys again – other than, say, a five-way trade that gets them Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger and Nolan Arenado?

Because there’s your problem. Yes, they certainly are boring – downright stultifying, in fact. But this is not a chicken-and-egg discussion. They’re boring because they’ve been brutal, because they were slow to address their needs after misdiagnosing their problems, and because all their calculations from years gone by have gone badly wrong.

But if you really think boring is the issue, let’s have Bruce Bochy dress in a clown suit and Pence play outfield in just a sliding pants and a derby, and have one inning per game designated as the Wild Dingo Surprise Inning, in which wild dingoes are loosed upon the field to terrorize the players and/or fans.

See how many wins you get then.