Giants aim to fulfill two significant needs

Club seeks outfield replacement and rotation help

Giants aim to fulfill two significant needs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- About a year ago, comparing the Giants' relative lack of personnel moves with those made by a team that engineered a particularly large number of winter transactions, general manager Bobby Evans said, "We're not trying to win the offseason."

Yet the Giants might be on the brink of doing exactly that this year, or so it seems, on the eve of Monday's opening of baseball's Winter Meetings at the Opryland Hotel.

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The Giants have only two significant needs -- starting pitching and outfield help -- and they're searching far and wide to address them. Doing so would bring them a major step toward regaining a spot among baseball's elite, at least on paper.

The Giants have agreed to terms with free-agent right-hander Jeff Samardzija, on a five-year, $90 million deal after an intense, but fruitless effort to sign the formidable Zack Greinke.

San Francisco might even try to secure another starter to bolster its rotation, given the injuries that nagged Jake Peavy and Matt Cain last season. The Giants would like to bring back Mike Leake, their major Trade Deadline acquisition last season, but the right-hander is receiving plenty of attention from other teams.

Adding an outfielder is another high priority for the Giants, if not their No. 1 concern. Having jettisoned Nori Aoki, who signed with Seattle, San Francisco has no choice but to find a competent replacement. Attractive free-agent options include Ben Zobrist, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward. And Evans hasn't ruled out a trade, though the Giants refuse to part with second baseman Joe Panik or third baseman Matt Duffy, two players who incessantly prompt inquiries from other teams.

The Giants have proved willing to deal lower-level prospects for short-term needs, meaning that infielder Christian Arroyo's name could be whispered in rumors around the hotel's lobby. Arroyo, only 20, emerged as one of the top performers in the recently completed Arizona Fall League season.

Though the Giants aren't close to finalizing their Spring Training contingent, that won't stop them from talking about the club. Manager Bruce Bochy is scheduled to meet with reporters Tuesday. And Evans will conduct daily briefings to discuss his progress, as he attempts to build a team that can return to the postseason, following San Francisco's second-place finish in the National League West last season.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2015 Winter Meetings from the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, with the Network launching 35 hours of live Winter Meetings coverage. Fans can also catch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, as well as the announcement of the Hall of Fame Pre-Integration Era Committee inductees on Monday at 8 a.m. PT and the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 7 a.m.

Consider yourself here, combing through the Opryland's circuitous acreage for developments about the Giants. Feel free to contact the writer through email or Twitter (see below) if you'd like a particular question asked. Your interest is encouraged.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.