"We've had two disappointing years," Magowan said Friday while watching the Giants' workout on a chilly, overcast day. "We're all accountable. I'm accountable, everybody's accountable for performance and I think everybody understands that."
Sabean, who also knows that winning is the bottom line in this business, reacted calmly.
"It's understandable. Just look at the last two years," Sabean said. "I'm certainly not above going through due process. ... If I was in his position, I think I'd probably treat it the same. There's a lot at stake for the organization. If you ask about pressure, I think the whole organization's under pressure. The last two years have been a huge disappointment and we obviously have to turn that around and get back to the playoffs."
The Giants are seeking the same sort of turnaround Sabean engineered after 1994-96, their last stretch of consecutive losing seasons before the current one. Sabean was promoted to GM on Sept. 30, 1996, and ushered the Giants through eight winning seasons in a row, each producing a first- or second-place finish.
"I think he's done great things for this organization," Magowan said.
But flawed personnel decisions hastened the Giants' struggles and manager Felipe Alou not being retained last October. Numerous players, including Marquis Grissom, Kirk Rueter, Jeff Fassero, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jim Brower and Michael Tucker either played their final games or endured a dramatic decline in skills during the last two seasons.
"Everybody's accountable," Sabean said, echoing Magowan. "And these last two years have been extremely frustrating. In some ways, I take it very personal what happened to Felipe last year. The team's lack of performance had as much to do with it being fallible the way it was put together. It didn't hold up as much as they didn't do it on the field."
Striving not to sound too ominous, Magowan said of Sabean, "I expect he's going to be our general manager in the future."
Still, the owner plainly put Sabean on notice.
"We're all on the hot seat," Magowan said. "I have been since I got here 15 years ago. It goes with the territory."
Checking out Omar:
Magowan said that he'd be open to discussing a contract extension for shortstop Omar Vizquel, 39, who wants to play through 2009.
"Omar's a pretty unique guy to play the position he plays and to play it as well as he's played it at his age," Magowan said.
Aware that rain was in the forecast, the Giants shortened Friday's workout by skipping conditioning drills. But except for some sprinkling, the rain held off. An unconcerned manager Bruce Bochy said that players would compensate by doing conditioning exercises, when they were originally scheduled to skip conditioning.
Catcher Eliezer Alfonzo expects to be sidelined three or four days with a strained left oblique (side) muscle. Alfonzo, the projected backup to Bengie Molina, said that he injured himself while swinging. "I don't think it's a major setback," Bochy said.
Bochy said that right-hander Carlos Hines, a non-roster invitee to camp, "felt something in his shoulder" and will be sidelined for three to five days.