Giants concerned with present, future

Giants concerned with present, future

LAS VEGAS -- As general manager Brian Sabean put it, his sweeping goal as baseball's Winter Meetings begin Monday is "to try to drum something up for the Giants that's a win-win, present and the future, without giving up a key asset."

What, you thought he was going to trade Tim Lincecum?

Actually, the Giants considered trading Lincecum, who proceeded to win the 2008 National League Cy Young Award, for Toronto outfielder Alex Rios during last year's Winter Meetings. This proves that anything can happen, or come close to happening, when teams convene, talent gets bartered and imaginations stir.

But on the eve of the Meetings, it's difficult to plot the Giants' next move -- at least if you listen to Sabean. Having plucked relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Bobby Howry, and shortstop Edgar Renteria from free agency, Sabean said that he's now concentrating more on trade options.

Yet Sabean downplayed the Giants' chances of completing a deal.

"We don't have anything on the table with any team," he said. "Nothing is percolating on the front burner."

Prying a potent hitter from another team, he added, "is going to take a lot of work."

The Giants want a corner infielder and won't expand their scope.

"I don't see us acquiring an outfielder," Sabean said.

It had been thought that the Giants would offer left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to try to acquire a hitter. But Sabean pointed out that Noah Lowry's uncertain status following forearm surgery makes Sanchez worth more to keep than to swap.

"With Lowry being a question mark, that tells you the value we have to place on Sanchez," said Sabean.

Rumors have characterized the Giants as interested, to varying degrees, in each of the big three free agents -- left-hander CC Sabathia, first baseman Mark Teixeira and left fielder Manny Ramirez. Although the Giants' pursuit of Sabathia is known to be genuine, it's believed that they're unwilling to approach the Yankees' reported six-year, $140 million offer.

Sabean admitted as much recently when he said, "We're not going to be in a boat race with other teams. We're not proactively out there swimming with the sharks."

But don't underestimate Sabean's knack for seeding deals at this time that bear fruit later. The Giants have made key transactions after the Winter Meetings in each of the last two years, signing left-hander Barry Zito after the 2006 gathering, then center fielder Aaron Rowand last year.

This also could be a big Winter Meetings for a writer who has been synonymous with the Giants. Nick Peters, who covered the Giants for 45 years for the Sacramento Bee and other newspapers, is among three finalists for the Baseball Writers' Association of America's prestigious Spink Award.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.