NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Giants remain ever-so-slightly tempted to commit the unthinkable act of trading promising right-hander Tim Lincecum, although a deal appears less likely with each passing minute. Giants general manager Brian Sabean said Tuesday at baseball's Winter Meetings that he and his assistants were still considering the "interesting proposal" he cited Monday that would feature Lincecum. That deal is believed to be for Toronto outfielder Alex Rios, who is to the Blue Jays what Lincecum is to the Giants -- a potential cornerstone for the future. Sabean acknowledged that the Giants talked with the Blue Jays on Monday and Tuesday, although he didn't reveal Toronto as the sole remaining possible trading partner involving Lincecum.
Addressing the deal in general terms, Sabean said, "There's really only one scenario which I spoke to yesterday which is intriguing. But not intriguing enough to pull the trigger. ... It's just one of the things we haven't shut off yet. There are some things we've shut off and some things we've kept alive. That's one that's still alive." Rios' talent is enough to arouse any team. At 26, he already has played nearly full four seasons in the Major Leagues and owns a .288 career average with 52 home runs and 254 RBIs. He hit .297 with 24 homers and 85 RBIs in 2007, garnishing those numbers with 114 runs, 43 doubles and 17 stolen bases in 21 attempts. The Giants know that Rios would help fill one of the glaring vacancies in the middle of their batting order. But they also know that Lincecum could develop into a co-ace of San Francisco's starting rotation, along with Matt Cain. Thus, Sabean said that he comes closer "with each passing day" to declaring Cain and Lincecum off-limits. Lincecum, Sabean added, has drawn more interest than Cain largely because he won't be eligible for salary arbitration -- and hefty pay increases -- for two more seasons. Cain already is signed through 2010, although his $9 million deal is conveniently economical. The next move appears to be San Francisco's. Asked whether he's waiting for the mystery team to make a counteroffer, Sabean replied, "No, I think we really just need to decide internally the weight of it and flush out exactly where we meet with the other club." A published report speculated that Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus could be part of the deal. But Glaus carries plenty of baggage: He underwent left foot surgery in mid-September; he was accused of receiving performance-enhancing drugs from a Florida pharmacy in 2003 and 2004; and he has only one year remaining on his contract at $12.75 million. Sabean indicated that he'd prefer to avoid obtaining players who'd be eligible for free agency so soon, expressing his preference for "longer-term" rather than "transitional" performers.