The Winter Meetings are officially under way, which means the next two days will be filled with a barrage of trades, rumors of trades, and even more rumors of trades. In the Giants’ camp, Sabean and Bochy have been very chatty about their plans for 2012, emphasizing their ever-improving veterans and spouting some interesting strategies featuring Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval.
December 5 – None so far, but the Giants definitely, absolutely, totally did N.O.T. bid on Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima.
Update: If you thought that trade was a bit lopsided, as I did, Baggarly reported that the Giants will also receive cash or a player TBA.
December 7 – Nope. Sabean is shutting the door on any further trades at this point.
December 8 – The Giants received Single-A RHP Luis Rojas from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft.
December 5 – Giants are beginning talks with Lincecum and Beltran. Other players sparking SF’s interest include Mark DeRosa (minor league deal) and Ryan Ludwick.
Cody Ross appears to be looking for a 3-year deal, but would settle for 2 years with the Giants, who are his first pick. If not, rumor has it he’s headed for a hitter-friendly park. Where he’ll find that, I’m not sure, but perhaps the Marlins will snatch him up again in their free agent frenzy.
Possible trade pieces from the Giants include Ramon Ramirez, Jeff Keppinger, and Andres Torres. Andrew Baggarly reported that Jeremy Affeldt was never on that list, despite interest from multiple teams.
December 6 – Another deal in the works involves an unspecified AL team and Jeff Keppinger. Given the recent trade for Angel Pagan, it seems unlikely that the Giants will pursue Carlos Beltran for much longer.
Three more players to say N.O. to: Carlos Quentin, Jed Lowrie, Martin Prado. Sabean also mentioned that a 3rd, 4th, or 5th place hitter is out of the question.
December 7 – Monday is the deadline for re-signing either Jeff Keppinger or Mike Fontenot. Both would bolster second base behind Freddy Sanchez, and Fontenot is capable at short as well. Of course, the Giants are also banking on Emmanuel Burriss to provide depth at short with Brandon Crawford.
The list of non-trades expanded to include Hanley Ramirez, Cody Ross, Carlos Beltran, and, oddly enough, Edgar Renteria. You can forget about that fifth starter, too. Zito has locked down that role for 2012, with Eric Surkamp as his backup.
Cody’s was the saddest story today. Baggarly tweeted that Sabean and Ross “could never get on the same page,” but further interviews with the 2010 NLCS MVP revealed that not only were the Giants his first choice, he was willing to “give them a hometown discount, whatever to help their payroll.” Perhaps the most heartbreaking quote? “It’s sad because I really wanted to come back,” Cody said. “They never made me an offer.”
December 8 – There has been limited talk about re-signing first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who is healed up from his shoulder surgery last season. The catch? Belt would have to start 2012 in Triple-A.
December 5 – Huff is ready to play left field again. John Shea tweeted that Bochy’s ideal outfield has Nate Schierholtz in right, Melky Cabrera in center, and Huff in left field. He also likes Brandon Crawford at short.
Buster Posey will be seeing more games at first base. While switch-hitting catcher Hector Sanchez has been turning heads in winter ball, Sabean also named Pablo Sandoval as a potential backup catcher for Posey, at least in games where an extra bat is needed.
Where does this leave Brandon Belt? Assuming he doesn’t start in Fresno (which is looking very likely at the moment), he may end up as a late-inning replacement for Huff or share the role of first baseman with Posey and Brett Pill.
December 6 – Not sure where to shelve this, but the Giants were named the Topps Organization of the Year. The title is awarded to the team that displays “outstanding performance, depth, and talent,” both in its major league club and minor league system. A ceremony will be held on Thursday, December 8.
Straight from Amy Gutierrez, Brandon Belt’s comments on his time in the Dominican League:
“I felt that I did really well. I hit .300 and consistently hit the ball well. I feel like I improved my consistency the most. I feel like my biggest problem on the Giants this year was my inconsistency and I felt like I tremendously improved that in the Dominican since I only had 3 games where I did not get a hit.”
Progress is wonderful, but there’s still a sticky situation at first base. Like I’ve said before, I hope he gets the recognition and consistent playing time he needs and deserves, even if it’s not at AT&T Park.
December 7 – Bochy wants to give Belt consistency, he really does. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean Belt won’t be yanked up and down the minors; it only means he’s more likely to see playing time at first base than left field. That is, if he can beat out Posey, Pill, and Huff for playing time first.
Reports from John Shea indicate that Pat Burrell may be returning to the Giants organization in 2012, with strong support from Sabean. His role is yet to be specified.
December 8 – For those surprised that Burriss will be returning in 2012, here’s a sneak peek into the Giants’ plan for him: playing time at third base, short, second base, and possibly the outfield as well.
Brandon Crawford IS the Giants 2012 shortstop. No ifs, ands, or buts there.
Brett Pill is a necessity, not so much for his skills at first base, but for his right-handed hitting. Andrew Baggarly speculated that with a solid glove, Pill may beat out Huff and Belt for the everyday job. Speaking of the plethora of available first basemen, Baggarly had this to say about Brandon Belt: “Expect Buster Posey, back in the everyday mix, to be instrumental in helping Belt develop composure, confidence, and an even-keel attitude.”
Negotiations with Cain and Lincecum continue to develop. Lincecum wants eight years with an opt-out clause; the Giants would like four years and club options. No numbers have been specified for Cain’s contract, but the Giants will be pulling out all the stops to keep him in San Francisco.