For thirty-seven minutes this morning, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy were grilled on the 2011 Giants season, the upcoming offseason and what will happen in 2012. While many of the answers were pretty vague given the current situation (they couldn’t help but be…) they actually opened up more than I expected on a variety of topics. Say what you will about Sabean, he most certainly doesn’t hold back when pressed on a topic. Below is a quick recap of the presser from mostly Sabean’s perspective:
- Zito and Sanchez will have opportunity for fifth starter role. Says Zito is under contract and will be with Giants in 2012. Didn’t give much indication of Sanchez’s arbitration, but said they know his value when healthy and he’ll have a chance at the 5th starter role in addition to Zito.
- Doesn’t believe Surkamp is ready – both Sabes and Bochy say he needs more work in the minors.
- Sabean does not feel that any current “high grade” minor leaguer *cough*Gary Brown*cough* will be ready for the Giants out of 2012 spring.
- Giants will work hard to get Belt and Crawford more Major League ready for the 2012 season. Says this will be a huge priority.
- Main goal is to get the pitching staff contracts sorted away. Sabean said pitching staff will be “expensive” and remaining offseason goals will fall into place after that. Hopes to get Lincecum and Cain signed as priority #1 – will then worry about other things after both of their situations are worked out.
- No current budget but don’t expect a huge change in money, up or down, for next season. Baer has not given them the 2012 budget yet.
- Sabean doesn’t feel Hector Sanchez is ready – look for a return to the minor’s.
- Sabean down on Huff – said if they had better alternative they’d have used it, but feel its difficult to turn your back on a guy that produced. Said he didn’t think he did enough in the 2010 offseason and if he doesn’t produce or have a good offseason, manager will have other options next year.
- Not sure if Gary Brown will open in Richmond or Fresno – does not expect him to open in San Francisco.
- Sabean says Giants have moved players through the system too fast – used Brandon Belt as an example, praised Pill’s experience and said Belt wasn’t able to handle the downs of the MLB like an “experienced” Pill did. Says Belt got down on himself too much and that played a major role in his first demotion. Praised Brandon Crawford over Belt for the way each handled adversity.
- Giants appear to like Pill a lot but question if there is room with Huff and Belt next year. Too early to say if they’ll carry all three.
- Both Bochy and Sabean expect Schierholtz to be 100%. Bochy expects Nate to be one of his starting OF next year – says its his job to lose.
- Giants open to bringing back Cody Ross due to his ability to play CF.
- Sabean feels Beltran will get suitors from the AL who will be able to give more years to Beltran with hopes of using him as a DH down the road. Also feels Boras, Beltran’s agent will do his duty and while they’d like to bring Beltran back, process may extend deep into Winter.
- Sabean says defense and running bases really hurt Giants – fixing both will be a major theme.
- Expects Jeremy Affeldt to be a Giant next year – option or not. Seemed very confident about that when asked. Was asked if they’d decline Affeldt’s option and bring him back at a lower price but countered with “Affeldt will be brought back”. No mention of Lopez.
- Was proud of Sandoval’s commitment this year as well as the way he bounced back from injury. Says Sandoval understands the importance of training. Doesn’t think he needs to play Winter Ball but understands if he wants to.
- Christian not in plans – thinks he’s more of a call-up/extra in the big’s, but, don’t expect him as Torres replacement. Minor league fodder, more likely than not.
- Sabean said he thinks Belt may have put extra pressure on himself by playing OF.
- Bochy told Huff to be ready for anything in ’12, mainly playing OF (left).
- Keppinger “might be a luxury item” – not sure on their plans yet.
- Bochy says “Aubrey knows 2012 will be different”…adjustments will be made if need be. Said Huff owned up to what happened and felt he challenged himself enough, that he, Bochy, didn’t need to do much more. Says Huff was humbled and embarrassed.
- Sabean wants to clear up Lincecum and Cain contracts soon as possible – says that’s main goal. Everything else will come after.
- Buster Posey will catch next year.
- Sabean not thrilled with CF situation – seems to be a position he feels Giants need to improve significantly.
- Andres Torres’ name wasn’t mentioned at all in regards to OF – read into that as you wish…
So – my thoughts on the press conference:
First off, I think they were a little harsh on Belt for no real reason. Not sure if they were like that to “cover their asses” for the way Belt was handled this year, but, seemed a bit pointless. But, finally got some clarification as to why they harped on Belt like they did throughout the year due to his “mental” issues with the game. Still think they handled the situation poorly which factored in Belt having some mental struggles – hopefully they’ve learned their lesson.
Thought the non-mention of Javier Lopez and Andres Torres was odd, but more so in Torres’ case. I’m sure they’ll do what they can to bring Lopez back (though, might be difficult with Sabean saying Affeldt will be back) given the value of lefties out of then pen but it appears the Giants lack any trust in Torres. I’m guessing they’d bring him back on a small contract if he was open but…..writing seems on the wall there.
Couldn’t get much of a read on the Jonathan Sanchez situation. Guessing they’ll dangle him for a hitter, not find anything, and he’ll win the 5th spot over Zito. But that’s going to be a messy situation when it comes.
Seems like Fontenot still might be in the plans – a much cheaper (they’re hoping) alternative to Keppinger. Seems like they feel he’ll get a decent contract (Kepp, that is), something they won’t want to match.
They obviously want Beltran back, but, I think Sabean knows it’s going to be pretty difficult.
Not really sure I agree with their feelings on how they’ve moved prospects too fast – think the issue is the way they’ve recently dealt with them at the MLB level. Belt had very little left to prove at the AAA level.
Was very clear that both Bochy and Sabean were extremely frustrated with Huff – don’t think he’ll get a very long leash at all next year if he starts slow.
Overall, again, they pretty much said as much as they could given the current situation – and whatever the case, it’s going to be one interesting offseason….strap up the boots.