There were a lot of questions heading into the 2011 MLB Winter Meetings in Dallas this year for the San Francisco Giants, many of which had some light shed on a solution during the first day down in big D.
First and foremost, the Giants did not place a bid on Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, as emphatically stated by GM Brian Sabean:
We did not bid on the Japanese shortstop. Did not. N-O-T. Enough said."
OK, glad that's cleared up. Now to other business:
Both Manager Bruce Bochy and Sabean feel the team is in need of a right-handed reserve infielder who could take over for Brandon Crawford instead of him facing left-handed pitching. But that market is rapidly declining in free agency as Clint Barmes, Willie Bloomquist, Jerry Hairston Jr. already got their deals from other clubs, while Michael Cuddyer is asking for three years and $30 million, and Jimmy Rollins will probably ask the same. This leaves the Giants in a tough position when it comes to free agents:
"We could be leaning to the trade route," Sabean said.
They also noted that the window of opportunity may be closing on signing Carlos Beltran and that Cody Ross will likely not return because he wants a three year deal and the Giants will only give him a one year deal.
"Without getting into specific dollars, we only have so much to spread. ... You have to make do with what the blueprint presents itself to be financially. That's what we're trying to do...Until we get a team on the field and start the season and score more runs, you're never comfortable with the offense we have, given what our low water mark was last year," Sabean said.
Another area the Giants are looking is for a fourth outfielder as well, which presents a multitude of options. The Giants have apparently set up a meeting with Ryan Ludwick who could be another Veteran to replace Pat Burrell in the platoon, though Andres Torres or even Gary Brown could become that person eventually.
As for extensions for Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, the team made contact with Lincecum's camp recently but nothing more, though should continue along this winter. Even if it finally reaches arbitration, Sabean will be not be trying to trade the two-time Cy Young winner
"There's no reason to think that way, we control him for two years." Sabean said.
As for Matt Cain, his extension talks may be a bit pressured due to the fact that he will be a free agent after net season. He's already under contract for 2012 unlike Linecum, so Timm'ys possibly arbitration comes first and will talk to Cain as soon as he's ready to do so.
"It could go into Spring Training." Said Sabean.
Some other quick notes:
-Freddy Sanchez has begun a throwing regimen, the first time he's done so since back in August before his shoulder surgery. He is likely to be back 100% for Spring Training.
-Bochy said he was comfortable with Nate Schierholtz as his every day right fielder.
-The Giants didn't' shop' Jeremy Affeldt per se, instead they sent out an e-mail to gauge offers after getting so many calls about him.
For more on the Giants, head over to McCovey Chronicles.