Giants decline to offer arbitration
Club doesn't extend any invitations, continues eyeing Renteria
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants officials surely were interested observers Monday as the Tigers declined to offer salary arbitration to shortstop Edgar Renteria, who San Francisco has considered signing in free agency.Due to the Tigers' decision, Renteria, a Type A free agent in the Elias Sports Bureau rankings, now can be obtained without the signing club surrendering its second-round selection to Detroit in June's First-Year Player Draft. In addition, the Giants -- as expected -- did not offer arbitration to their free agents, shortstop Omar Vizquel and infielder Rich Aurilia, neither of whom qualified for the Elias rankings. Management has maintained that Vizquel won't be re-signed, but Aurilia could be brought back in a utility role.
Besides the Giants, a handful of clubs are believed to be interested in Renteria, a .290 career hitter who batted .270 last season -- although an industry source said that the St. Louis Cardinals, who the five-time All-Star played for from 1999-2004, aren't among them despite numerous reports.Now that Draft-choice compensation is no longer an issue with Renteria, it remains to be seen whether he will supplant Rafael Furcal atop the Giants' free-agent shortstop wish list. Renteria would seem to be a more economical alternative than Furcal. Coming off a three-year, $39 million deal with the Dodgers, Furcal is said to be seeking a similar annual average over a four-year contract. Though the Giants entered the offseason bent on finding a hitter to play one of the infield corners, insiders believe they added shortstops to their shopping list after watching Emmanuel Burriss struggle defensively in the Arizona Fall League. Burriss hit .318, but he committed 10 errors in 24 games for Scottsdale -- perhaps justifying projections that his future is at second base. "It was really out of character from what I saw in the [regular] season," said a National League scout who watched Burriss perform in the AFL. "He was all out of sync on defense." Also, Giants shortstops ranked last in the National League last season in batting average (.228) and on-base percentage (.576), and tied for last in home runs (one) and runs (51). The NL averages in those respective categories were .275, .734, 12 and 85.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.