Giants see plenty of options for pitching, OFs

Giants see plenty of options for pitching, OFs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The absence of Giants transactions at baseball's Winter Meetings shouldn't be interpreted as an absence of activity on the ballclub's part.

General manager Bobby Evans indicated Wednesday, the Meetings' last full day, that he's evaluating multiple deals, trying to determine which ones make the most sense while considering factors such as contractual terms and the talent of the players involved. Evans is that shopper in the produce aisle, judging which items are worth spending on and maybe even splurging for while keeping an eye out for bargains and bruises.

"Part of the challenge is that there are so many different options, you're looking for separators right now," Evans said.

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Noting that he's currently more optimistic about signing a starting pitcher than a left fielder in free agency, Evans doesn't feel compelled to rush into a deal of any sort.

"I don't feel any pressure in timing," he said. "I think there's enough options out there that we'll be able to land additions that will help us."

That is, if the Giants can't sign Mike Leake to bolster the starting rotation, comparable right-handers probably will remain available, such as Johnny Cueto, Ian Kennedy or Doug Fister.

Jeff Samardzija was a different case. The Giants came to terms with him last Saturday, less than 24 hours after Arizona's deal with Zack Greinke was announced. Evans and his staff felt he'd be quickly snatched off the market, continuing the sequence of agreements involving Jordan Zimmermann and David Price, who preceded Greinke.

"We knew being decisive would benefit us," Evans said.

Brian Sabean on Giants' mindset

Evans was further encouraged by the increased chatter surrounding "prospect-driven" trades, which the Giants are equipped to engineer by tapping their depth of talent in the lower Minors. San Francisco lacks a surplus of Major League-ready players, which is what most teams currently seek in trade talks.

Evans reasoned that, eventually, other clubs might be willing to accept a package of prospects in exchange for a proven yet costly veteran such as Carlos Gonzalez. According to multiple reports, the Rockies might be willing to part with their slugging left fielder, who amassed 40 home runs and 97 RBIs this year.

Evans said the Giants inquired about Gonzalez's availability in previous years.

"They just weren't ready to make a move," said Evans, who debunked the theory that the Rockies might not be willing to trade within the division. Case in point: Last year's five-player blockbuster that sent Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp to San Diego.

• ESPN reported the Giants had forged ahead of rival clubs in their pursuit of free-agent left fielder Alex Gordon. Dexter Fowler also was high on the Giants' list, ESPN said.

• Evans confirmed that right-hander Tim Lincecum, recovering from hip surgery, will conduct a showcase when he feels ready to throw. Evans, who said he spoke with Rick Thurman, Lincecum's agent, didn't rule out re-signing the two-time Cy Young Award winner, though the Giants already have a full five-man contingent of starters: Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner, Jake Peavy, Matt Cain and Chris Heston.

• Evans expressed deep doubt that the Giants would have any reason to bring back Ryan Vogelsong, the hugely popular right-hander: "It's hard to lose some of the guys you like most, but sometimes you have to let them pursue opportunities that might be better for them, and I think that might be the case here."

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.