Giants retain Sabean, Bochy through '13
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
Brian Sabean's office is connected to the San Francisco Giants' clubhouse, only a matter of feet from where manager Bruce Bochy prepares for games. The close proximity makes for regular planning meetings, before first pitch and often well into the night after the final out.
CEO Larry Baer is committed to maintaining that continuity with his club, and took a step Tuesday by giving both the general manager and manager contract extensions taking them through the 2013 season with club options for 2014.
''They work exceptionally well together. That's a key relationship,'' Baer said. ''I strongly believe Brian and Bruce are the best at their craft in the game, and their track record shows that.''
The 55-year-old Sabean is the longest-tenured GM in baseball and has said he would like to stay put in San Francisco for the rest of his career. He became the Giants' GM in 1996 after three years in player personnel. He was in the Yankees organization from 1985-92 as a scout, scouting director and player development director.
Sabean has a busy stretch ahead before spring training begins in February. On Wednesday, his wife, Amanda, is scheduled to give birth to the couple's second son - the sixth son for Sabean. Then, baseball's winter meetings begin next week in Dallas.
''Anything we're going to do has to fit into a certain price point and give us enough flexibility to do other things,'' Sabean said. ''Pitching is our gold standard and we'll do all that we can to take care of that commodity first.''
Bobby Evans, the team's vice president of baseball operations and Sabean's right-hand man, said there have been preliminary conversations with the pitchers' representatives that he categorized as ''an exchange of ideas and numbers.'' Evans said he expects Lincecum, the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, to be open to a long-term deal beyond two years.
''I don't know how productive it is to get into specifics,'' Evans said. ''I don't thinks he's closed off to anything short or long, per se. I think he's very comfortable with short, but don't think he's closed off to anything long. I think he's still open to that.''
Sabean hired the 56-year-old Bochy away from the rival San Diego Padres in 2007 to replace Felipe Alou.
''I think we have a mutual respect. We listen to each other, Brian for me is always available,'' Bochy said. ''We communicate so much during the course of the season. We stay in the same building. There's never any kind of distance or separation.''
Yet there wasn't immediate success when Bochy arrived, and both men received harsh criticism along the way for moves they made and those they didn't.
That all changed when they led the club to an improbable World Series championship in 2010 with a band of ''castoffs and misfits'' as Bochy called them.
Baer had expected to get deals done during the offseason to keep both men around for the near future. Sabean and Bochy were instrumental in the team's World Series title, the first for the franchise since moving West in 1958.
''I don't take anything for granted. I'm thankful for their renewed commitment,'' Bochy said.
The Giants went 86-76 for second place in the NL West and missed the playoffs this year, when they dealt with devastating season-ending injuries to 2010 NL Rookie of the Year catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Freddy Sanchez.
Baer recently assumed top decision-making duties from outgoing managing partner Bill Neukom, saying, ''Brian has seen the operation through all sorts of environments.''
That included the challenging days with home run king Barry Bonds and the move from Candlestick Park to the waterfront spot at 12-year-old AT&T Park.
''I don't take the extension lightly,'' Sabean said. ''Baseball's a tough game to succeed in. I'm really thankful that I'm one of the original employees of the ownership group and as the ownership group changed or morphed, they recognized our commitment and hard work.''
All-Star slugger Pablo Sandoval is still deciding whether to spend a short stint in his native Venezuela, where Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was abducted earlier this month and then rescued. Sandoval is training for a second straight offseason in Arizona after losing close to 40 pounds last winter.