Results tagged ‘ Scott Podsednik ’

Shortstop search and more from Sabean, Bochy

Monday, Dec. 6

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — General manager Brian Sabean reiterated that “mutual interest” exists regarding Edgar Renteria’s possible return to the Giants.

“But I would say where we’re going to get bogged down is the [Pat] Burrell precedent,” Sabean said.

In short, Renteria probably would have to accept $1 million or thereabouts, as Burrell did last week, to return to the Giants as a backup shortstop and utility infielder.

Sabean tried to sound encouraging about retaining the 35-year-old World Series Most Valuable Player. “Neither side has ruled anything out,” Sabean said.

But Sabean warned that Renteria will be out of luck if the Giants sign another potential backup shortstop before him.

On another subject, Sabean wasn’t surprised by Boston’s acquisition of San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who was either the best or second-best player in the National League West — depending on your opinion of Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki.

But Sabean indicated that San Diego could remain a threat in the division. “It’s a pitching-centric division,” Sabean said. “… Like us, they didn’t have a prototypical set lineup and had to make some changes at the deadline. They were unfortunate to have their [10-game] losing streak when they did.”

*****

Manager Bruce Bochy addressed numerous topics during his half-hour session with the media, including:

– Pablo Sandoval’s physical conditioning. Bochy noted that Sandoval already has lost more than 10 pounds. “He seems determined to get back to where he was [in 2009],” Bochy said. But, Bochy added, “He’s got a little ways to go. I don’t want to put a number [on it], but he’s still got probably 15 or so.”

– The care and feeding of the club’s valuable pitchers. Keeping the staff injury-free will loom as a chief concern given the shortened offseason and the starters’ workload. Including the postseason, each starter exceeded 200 innings — except for Barry Zito, who finished with 199 1/3.

Bochy also will watch closer Brian Wilson carefully. “Whether I bring him in as much in the eighth inning this coming year, I don’t know,” Bochy said of Wilson, who led the Major Leagues with 10 saves of 1 1/3 innings or longer this year.

Nevertheless, Bochy said that he’s saddled with fewer roster issues than he ever has faced in his 17-year managerial career, largely due to the pitching staff’s stabiity.

– The wish for a left-handed batter to balance the lineup. Bochy said that this yet-to-be-obtained individual doesn’t necessarily have to be a power hitter. This prompted speculation that the Giants could again be eyeing Scott Podsednik, who they pursued previously. At 34, Podsednik might not be an ideal acquisition. But he has accented his .279 career batting average with 301 stolen bases in 10 seasons, which would meet the Giants’ goal of becoming more “athletic.”

– Existing outfield personnel. Bochy said that he might inform Aaron Rowand, who has spent most of his career in center field, that he’ll might have to fill in at the outfield corners occasionally. Bochy added that speedster Darren Ford, who needs to gain more consistency at the plate, almost surely will open the season at Triple-A Fresno.

– A friendly parting with shortstop Juan Uribe, who signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Dodgers last week. Bochy said that Uribe called to thank him. “And I said the same to him,” Bochy said. “You understand. It’s part of the business. He was a free agent, and you’re not going to sign them all. … We’re champions partly because of what he did for us.”

– His contract status. Bochy is signed for 2011 with a club option for 2012. Asked whether he’d prefer to have a contract extension before next season opens, Bochy replied, “Not to skirt it, but it’s not even on my mind right now.”

Chris Haft

Fans voice curiosity about Mike Jacobs

Here’s a note from a fan expressing a sentiment that has been echoed by numerous sfgiants.com readers this offseason:

Do the Giants have any interest in Mike Jacobs to play first base? I know they liked him in the past. They can probably get him at a nice price to compete with Travis Ishikawa.
– Chris P., Phoenix, AZ

If I had a dollar for each e-mail I’ve received about Mike Jacobs, I’d be able to pay off my older daughter’s college tuition for the rest of the school year. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. But the voice of the fan is always compelling when it’s unified.

Jacobs isn’t a premier free agent like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. He isn’t even considered a second-tier free agent. But he did hit 51 home runs in the previous two seasons. Jacobs would have an AT&T Park concession-stand menu item named after him, kind of like the “Cha Cha Bowl” saluting Orlando Cepeda, if he homered at that pace for the Giants.

These are the same Giants who ranked last in the Major Leagues with 94 home runs in 2008 and next-to-last in the National League with 122 homers last season. Granted, power isn’t the cure-all to the Giants’ offensive woes. But you have to wonder whether Jacobs might be worth signing to a one-year contract for a low base salary and enough performance bonuses to reward him for a job well done.

The Giants, who continue to seek offensive help, have contacted Jacobs’ agent, John Boggs. Their interest in Jacobs appears minimal, however. “They haven’t given any indication that he’s a player they’ve targeted,” Boggs said Monday. “But he could be the answer to completing their lineup.”

Maybe Jacobs, 29, can be this year’s Russell Branyan, who amassed 31 homers for Seattle last year after averaging 12 in the previous six seasons.

Boggs told me that I was the first reporter to ask him about his client this winter. This doesn’t qualify me for Mensa. Jacobs possesses plenty of statistical baggage. His on-base percentage dipped below .300 in each of the last two seasons and he hit just .228 with Kansas City in 2009, prompting the Royals to release him last month when they needed a 40-man roster spot for the Rule 5 Draft, of all things. He played only 15 games at first base for the Royals, prompting doubts about his ability to handle the position.

But many teams need power. And Jacobs’ 2008-09 home run output can’t be denied. After clobbering 32 two years ago with Florida, he hit just 19 last year. Yet given the adjustments Jacobs faced due to switching leagues, that was hardly a precipitous drop. He bats left-handed, an ominous trait to take into AT&T Park. But most observers agree that his slugging ability is legitimate.

The Giants surely believe that they can acquire better hitters than Jacobs, and maybe they’re right. But third baseman Adrian Beltre’s agreement with Boston removed another potential option from the Giants’ list. Unless they’re considering other first basemen (Adam LaRoche, Branyan, Carlos Delgado), contemplating the largely untapped supply of second basemen (Felipe Lopez, Orlando Hudson) or pondering the wisdom of adding an outfielder (Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Church, Xavier Nady), they might have to look harder at performers like Jacobs as Spring Training approaches.

– Chris Haft 

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