Bonds talks 'still fluid' as Meetings end
Re-signing slugger unfinished business for productive Giants
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A hoarse Giants general manager Brian Sabean said Thursday talks with Barry Bonds' agent Jeff Borris are "still fluid," and wouldn't categorize where the two sides stood.But dragging negotiations on until the new year?
"No, no, no," said Sabean, who had a three-hour, face-to-face meeting with Borris before midnight Wednesday, followed after a break by a brief telephone conversation.The sleep-deprived GM, who rarely got a break during the three days of chats at the Winter Meetings, said he never talked to Bonds, who surprisingly showed up here Wednesday morning, supposedly to rev up talks and feel out other teams' interest. "It wasn't prudent," said Sabean of chatting with Bonds. "I never talk to a player about negotiations, and Jeff agreed."
It's possible, however, that a Bonds deal -- perhaps in the neighborhood of $12-$15 million -- could happen next week.Did Sabean even find Bonds' appearance at the Dolphin Hotel interesting?
"Not really," he said.Still, the Winter Meetings were productive on other fronts for San Francisco, although Sabean was surprised about the lack of trades overall, usually a trademark of these gatherings. After earlier inking second baseman Ray Durham and center fielder Dave Roberts, the club made a big acquisition by signing veteran catcher Bengie Molina, who'll be the starter, while 2006 rookie Eliezer Alfonzo becomes a much-prized backup. The 32-year-old Molina, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, gives the Giants batting punch and plenty of experience in replacing veteran Mike Matheny, not expected to return next season due to ongoing post-concussion symptoms. Sabean expects to hear definitive results of Matheny's mid-week medical exam in the next few days. The club filled out the infield here by signing former Giants veteran Rich Aurilia -- who'll ostensibly be the first baseman, but will also float around all infield spots -- and re-signing third baseman Pedro Feliz.
Feliz can also spell Aurilia at first, and he has reported he's doing specialized core exercises to lose weight and improve conditioning entering Spring Training.Those signings may not have been great, but they definitely filled vacancies, and the players are known commodities. And the Giants aren't done yet. Sabean said the free-agent market for pitching and position players is still active, and several deals could be done by the weekend. Deals done: Re-signed free-agent third baseman Feliz for one year, $5.1 million; signed free agent Aurilia, a versatile, play-anywhere infielder for two years, $8 million; and acquired catcher Molina for three years, $16 million. Rule 5 activity: There was no activity at the Major League level for the Giants, who obtained Triple-A second baseman Trey Webb from Washington. Lost were outfielder Johany Abreu, Class A Augusta, to Texas; RHP Jesse Floyd, Double-A Connecticut, to Minnesota; third baseman Brian Buscher, Triple-A Fresno, to Minnesota; catcher Brian Munhall, Connecticut, to Texas. Goals accomplished: Getting Molina was key, but the infield is now nicely filled out with Feliz and Aurilia. A very good Winter Meetings after weeks of near-misses on big sluggers. Talks with other teams regarding trades reportedly went well and could prove fruitful. Unfinished business: Re-signing of Bonds is expected soon, and talks are ongoing. Pitching is foremost now. There's still a need for a starter and reliever, probably through trades. The Giants are also seeking a power-hitting first baseman and are eyeing potential outfielders in case Bonds goes elsewhere. GM's bottom line: "The meetings have been productive as we had hoped. We have a lot of information and a lot of options at hand. The seeds have been planted." -- Sabean
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.