Right-hander Brad Penny and infielder Juan Uribe have turned down one-year contract offers to return to the San Francisco Giants.
General manager Brian Sabean said Friday the club made a one-year offer with incentives to Penny and a one-year offer with an option and buyout to Uribe, but both free agents declined. The Giants aren’t in further talks with either player right now.
“In both cases you always want to put yourself on the other side,” Sabean said in a conference call. “I don’t know that they have enough information as to what they were hearing in the market to be able to react to our timing needs.”
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One of Sabean’s top priorities heading into next week’s winter meetings in Indianapolis is the catcher spot, but he acknowledged it could take a while for that position to get settled. Bengie Molina is a free agent and has said he wants a multiyear deal – and San Francisco doesn’t plan to offer anything beyond a year. The Giants have Buster Posey as their catcher of the future.
The team’s brass discussed Posey this week and decided their 2008 first-round draft pick isn’t ready to be a full-time catcher in the majors. It sounds as if he will begin 2010 with Triple-A Fresno to gain more experience.
Posey hit .325 with 18 homers and 80 RBIs in the minors this year and spent seven games with San Francisco in September.
“We really had a lot of good input. The relative conclusion was that after his first full season and time in the big leagues and the Fall League, he was pretty whipped,” Sabean said. “By nature, he hasn’t played enough. It might be a tall order to ask him to do this. We’d like to get somebody, if we make the decision not to have him start the season, who’s more full-time and (Posey would) be in the position to earn it.”
Sabean said the Giants have “a short list of what we think are viable options.”
Brad Ausmus has come up as a name the Giants might pursue, but they could have competition for him from NL West rivals Los Angeles and San Diego. Rod Barajas and Miguel Olivo also could be options, and even Molina’s brother, Jose, is available.
Penny joined the Giants on Aug. 31 hoping to help the Giants get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. He went 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six starts for San Francisco, which was in the chase until mid-September and finished 88-74 and with 16 more wins than in 2008.
The 31-year-old right-hander found a spot in the Giants‘ talented rotation after being cut by the Red Sox after going 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA this season – including 1-6 in his last 11 starts for Boston.
Boston signed the two-time All-Star to a $5 million, one-year contract last winter after he spent four-plus seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Penny won 16 games for the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007, his career high. He was hampered by shoulder problems last year.
Uribe, 30, batted .289 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs in 122 games for the Giants in 2009, proving his versatility by playing at least 38 games each at second base, third and shortstop.