12/04/08 11:00 AM EST
Giants look to fill needs at Meetings
Corner infielder, starter and reliever at top of club's list
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
CORNER INFIELD BAT -- Either a first or third baseman will do, since Pablo Sandoval can handle one of the two spots. The Giants might consider a corner outfielder if he were irresistible, but for now they claim to be happy with the contingent of Fred Lewis, Aaron Rowand and Randy Winn.
RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVER -- The club needs reinforcements after casting off Tyler Walker, Brad Hennessey and Kevin Correia. Sergio Romo showed promise as a rookie last season, but he can't do the job alone. San Francisco has eyed Juan Cruz in free agency.
FREE-AGENT STARTING PITCHER -- This isn't a desperate need, but it could become more pressing if San Francisco trades a starter for a bat and left-hander Noah Lowry recovers slowly from forearm surgery. The Giants can afford to wait, but they've supposedly expressed some interest in Brad Penny.
Who they can or need to trade:
LHP Jonathan Sanchez -- The Giants would prefer not to trade him, but they might have to do so to get the bat they need. By himself, Sanchez won't fetch much, so San Francisco likely would have to package him with at least one prospect.
INF Emmanuel Burriss -- His stock dipped as he committed 10 errors in 24 games while playing shortstop in the Arizona Fall League. Like Sanchez, the Giants probably would rather keep Burriss, whose future might be at second base. But the Giants have depth there, so if they sign a free-agent shortstop, they might include Burriss in a swap, if necessary.
OF Dave Roberts -- He's destined for bench duty, so a trade probably would benefit all parties. But his $6.5 million salary probably silences trade talk before it can begin.
RHP Matt Cain -- Don't get excited. General manager Brian Sabean has repeated that Cain's untouchable. But so was Tim Lincecum last year, and he almost was traded for Toronto outfielder Alex Rios at the Winter Meetings.
C Buster Posey -- The future isn't quite now for Posey, a consensus choice as top collegiate player in 2008 at Florida State, but he could arrive in the Major Leagues in next season's second half if the Giants struggle and they jettison Bengie Molina, who's eligible for free agency after '09, in a Trade Deadline deal.
LHP Madison Bumgarner -- San Francisco's top pick (10th overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft is coming off a season in which he earned South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year honors and a truckload of other awards. Even with his lack of experience and at his age (19), the Giants won't hesitate to give him a late-season look.
RHP Tim Alderson -- Selected 12 picks after Bumgarner in '07, obviously the Giants want to see what he can do in San Francisco someday, but if they get desperate for a big bat, they might give in and deal him.
Big contracts they might unload:
None, unless some team takes Roberts. The Giants almost surely would have to pay part of Barry Zito's remaining salary in the unlikely event another team makes a proposal for the left-hander.
LHP Jack Taschner -- It's anybody's guess whether the Giants will keep Taschner, trade him or decline to tender him a contract. Logic dictates that the third option is a long-shot, since they should be able to find a taker for a lefty who struck out 90 batters in 98 innings in 2007-08.
After committing $8 million over two years to left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, the Giants, whose payroll will range between $80-90 million, probably can afford to spend another $12-15 million. The contracts of infielders Ray Durham ($7.5 million), Omar Vizquel ($5.2 million) and Rich Aurilia ($4.5 million) have evaporated, and they won't have to pay about $3 million to Walker, Hennessey and Correia. But Lowry's salary doubles to $4.5 million, Cain gets nearly a $2 million raise to $2.65 million and Zito gets a $4 million bump. They'll have to give some sort of raise to Lincecum, although they can squeeze him since he isn't arbitration eligible -- Cy Young Award or no Cy Young Award.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.