The Giants will not get Vlad:
Giants expect big chill at the winter meetings
By Joe Roderick, CONTRA COSTA TIMES
In recent years, baseball's winter meetings have become like potential dance partners who stand against the wall waiting for the other person to make the first move.
This year could be the same. When the meetings begin Friday in New Orleans, Giants general manager Brian Sabean expects no changes from what has been a rather uneventful dance.
"I think it will follow suit, maybe (be) even slower," Sabean said Wednesday in a conference call. "People are playing the waiting game. I don't know how many clubs will be active. They'll have to trade dollar for dollar."
Sabean said the Giants do have the payroll flexibility to add players, whether through free-agent signings or trades. He said the team's primary need is a starting pitcher. However, he said Sunday that shortstop and right field were a "work in progress."
"You know how we do business," Sabean said. "You can't predict what will happen. I'm not going to speculate. We always have irons in the fire, and not just because the winter meetings are coming up. We've done quite a bit so far."
If the Giants make a foray into the free-agent market, don't expect a huge splash.
The Giants inquired about outfielder Gary Sheffield early in the free-agent signing period, but their interest didn't last long.
"We established that he was out of our price range, like (Vladimir) Guerrero and like (Miguel) Tejada," Sabean said. "They're $10 million players."
Speaking of players out of the team's price range, Sabean responded to comments by former Giants shortstop Rich Aurilia, who was upset the team didn't make an effort to re-sign him.
"That's Richie's opinion," Sabean said. "The last time we heard from his agent (Barry Axelrod), he wanted four years and $8 million (per year). I don't think Richie would have signed the kind of deal we just signed other guys to."
On another front, Sabean believes closer Robb Nen, who missed last season with an injury, should be at full health in 2004, and could help a bullpen perhaps weakened by the loss of Joe Nathan and Tim Worrell.
"I'd say it could be one of the better ones in the league if Robbie is healthy," Sabean said. "We have the same cast minus Nathan (and Worrell), but we could be stronger because of Robbie. We'll miss Timmy's contributions, but as bullpens go we have one of the strongest and one of the most experienced."
NOTE: The Montreal Expos say they're close to signing an agreement to move 22 games to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a second straight season. The games would be played over three homestands, all before the All-Star break, the Expos said. The proposed schedule has the Giants playing there May 21-23.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Updated on Thursday, Dec 11, 2003 6:40 am EST
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Yes doctor, an army is forming.
Yes doctor, there will be a war.
Yes doctor, there will be blood.....