12/13/07 12:32 AM ET
Rios-for-Lincecum trade talks end
Toronto right fielder no longer needed by San Francisco
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
San Francisco effectively ended the trade talk on Wednesday, when the team signed center fielder Aaron Rowand to a five-year contract worth $60 million. The addition of Rowand plugs the hole that Rios might have filled, and the Giants are now considering Lincecum and fellow right-hander Matt Cain off-limits.
"With this move," said Giants general manager Brian Sabean, discussing the Rowand signing, "we're not definitively interested any longer in listening to any offers on Cain and Lincecum.
"I never came out and put either pitcher on the market and said I was going to trade either. We know the value of both individuals, believe me -- and maybe more so now that we've gone through this exercise. They might be the hottest two names in baseball."
Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi was not available for comment.
The Blue Jays inquired about Lincecum and Cain during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., last week and dangled Rios as an intriguing bargaining chip. Toronto showed a willingness to pull a one-for-one trade involving Rios for Lincecum and waited for Sabean's response.
The fact that Lincecum, 23, is contractually controllable for six more years and has the potential to be a frontline starter appealed to Toronto. The Jays already boast a strong rotation, but they also want to be prepared to potentially move on without A.J. Burnett, who can opt out of his five-year contract with Toronto after the 2008 season.
Wednesday also marked the deadline for teams to offer contracts to any unsigned players who are not free agents. Among those who fit into that category for the Blue Jays are Rios, Marco Scutaro, Reed Johnson, Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Jason Frasor, Josh Towers and Gustavo Chacin, all of whom are arbitration-eligible.
The Blue Jays did not tender a contract to Towers, who went 5-10 with a 5.38 ERA in 25 games, including 15 starts last season. The 30-year-old right-hander is now eligible to become a free agent. Toronto offered contracts to its remaining unsigned players.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.