Sabean's agenda includes the acquisition of a power hitter such as Ramirez -- Roberts is speedy and great defensively, but gap- and homer-hitters are necessary at AT&T Park -- a veteran relief pitcher, an experienced catcher and infielder.It's a strong possibility the Giants will either sign free-agent second baseman Mark Loretta, who says he'll join the team for some $4 million in 2007, or re-sign veteran Ray Durham, although that seems doubtful. The puzzle that is third baseman Pedro Feliz is likewise up in the air heading into the winter gathering. Do they re-sign the veteran -- good arm, sporadic offense -- or put Aurilia in that spot? Sabean has another dilemma in the closer's role, for while Armando Benitez is rehabbing his arthritic knees, it's still questionable whether he can pitch up to his 47-save standard with Florida in 2004. Somehow, that seems long ago. The Giants must decide whether to seek another arm to replace Benitez or hope young relievers Brian Wilson or Jack Taschner can assume that role. The free-agent market for a slugger is pretty slim pickings now, and the GM is expected to concentrate on trades to acquire what they really need: a long-term star with Splash Hit capabilities. If a real power hitter isn't signed, Bonds would return to left field. He at least revved up his game the latter part of 2006, when his bad knees got stronger with leg exercises and frequent rest. Fortunately for Sabean, the Giants' Minor League system has had team success at every level the past few seasons, with excellent prospects. Arms used to be the organization's strength, and that still holds, but recent drafts proved bountiful for position players as well. Possibilities in trade action include infielder Travis Ishikawa, outfielder Nate Schierholtz and Fred Lewis, pitchers Pat Misch, Brian Anderson, Adam Cowart and Billy Sadler. These are precious prospects, especially those valuable arms, but if Sabean is to help the Giants roar back into contention in 2007 and beyond, giving up young talent might be necessary. At Orlando, expect Sabean and his staff to stay up late and get up early. There's no time to waste there, and their hotline will always be on.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.