03/24/2004 5:49 PM ET
Brian Sabean chat transcript
Season ticketholder exclusive from Spring Training
During Spring Training, Giants GM Brian Sabean participated in an online chat exclusively for Giants season ticketholders. Here is a partial transcript of that chat.
rrodings: Are the Giants going to be able to compete if [Barry] Bonds gets hurt?
Sabean: I think we've proven that in the past.
bigdogs222: Are the Giants giving Brian Dallimore a serious look for the utility spot this season? Will they fill that role from within the organization, or are they looking at players like Deivi Cruz and Craig Counsell?
Sabean: We're looking to fill the utility spot from within the organization. Cody Ransom seemingly has the inside track.
Crackereliot: Brian, at this time, what would be your highest priority with the current 25-man roster?
Sabean: Year-round, including now, you look to further strengthen your pitching.
trigfinger: What are your thoughts on a worldwide draft?
Sabean: As of now, we believe that a worldwide draft is too cumbersome to administrate. Quite frankly, it is also an issue with the players' union as it is a part of the basic agreement. It must be decided through collective bargaining.
speedyman: What's the likelihood [Jason] Schmidt will be ready for Opening Day? If he goes on the DL, how many starts will he lose?
Sabean: If Schmidt's not ready for Opening Day, we would try to go series to series so that his first start could be in San Diego or San Francisco.
mikeman57: Will Todd Linden remain with the team if he breaks camp, or do the Giants prefer to get him another season of 400 at-bats in Fresno?
Sabean: Todd probably needs more Triple-A at-bats, but I'm sure the decision on him making the club will go to the last weekend.
speedyman: At this point, can we expect [Matt] Herges to start the season as closer? And when will [Robb] Nen, realistically, be ready?
Sabean: Herges has been told to get ready and have the mindset that he is going to be the closer, which means we're going to allow Robbie all the time he needs and have him surprise us rather than disappoint us with not being ready.
mpjohn: How has the club looked so far in Spring Training?
Sabean: We've had the benefit of bringing most of our top prospects into camp. We began with 67 and are now at 36. Felipe [Alou] and his staff have done a great job of getting these guys exposure and playing time. As we approach the final days in Arizona, we will begin using our regulars more and more on a daily basis, stretching out their innings and at-bats. The team seems to be relatively healthy and in good spirits and I think anxious to leave Arizona on a positive note. The games in San Francisco are always more helpful to further evaluate the team's readiness or what needs to be done with the roster.
jlee455: Any chance Ryan Jensen will make the Opening Day roster?
Sabean: It's certainly a possibility. He will start Friday. We will have to see what his greatest strength would be to us on a 12-man staff as a starter or reliever to give him the right consideration to make the team.
mikeman57: Do you have any concerns over Jerome Williams' outings this spring? Is this normal working-on-pitches, etc., or is it getting to be time in spring for him to be looking to get a lot of outs in an appearance?
Sabean: Jerome is traditionally a slow starter, including in the minor leagues. Most of the spring is spent on building up arm strength and endurance and pitch count and along the way refining your pitches to attack hitters with. So the performance component usually becomes the last to be evaluated.
trigfinger: Do you do any scouting in Australia or any other new territories?
Sabean: Most teams, including us, have scouted Australia for years. We're making an attempt to expand our scouting in Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
whaleridergal: What do you think might be the biggest surprise from this year's team? What is their unforeseen strength?
Sabean: The biggest strength is its overall depth and veteran experience.
mpjohn: How valuable is your training staff in helping to keep the Giants healthy?
Sabean: Their value can't be understated. We feel that Stan [Conte] and his staff are amongst the best in baseball with the care and prevention of injuries at both the Major and minor league level. They have a great rapport with the players, coaches, manager and front office. They work in concert with everyone to keep them informed on a daily basis.
richard_thesocraticcoach: All the greatest batting average and power hitters have batted third in the lineup. Why does Barry bat fourth?
Sabean: Barry and Felipe are in constant conversation about the feelings and relative strengths that he is able to bring with his spot in the order. It always has been a work in progress throughout the year.
sfgyrofan: How do you see the Giants' balance between offense vs. pitching? Most observers say the Giants are pitcher-heavy but are offensively thin. Yet we hear the Giants are looking for more pitching. Can you give us your thoughts?
Sabean: I don't think our lineup is ever given enough credit in any given year. This team does have experience and guys like [Ray] Durham and [Edgardo] Alfonzo getting off to good starts will certainly help us go forward as an offense that may be capable of scouring more runs than it did last year. Pierzynski's contribution will also be an interesting situation as it plays out. Felipe feels this team is very capable of scoring enough runs in and around Barry.
jlee4555: [Felix] Rodriguez has expected to be a closer for a while. Is he disappointed that he is not the man now?
Sabean: To my knowledge, Felix isn't disappointed. He understands his value as a setup man and actually his ability to pitch more frequently in that role. We're sure he'll be given a change to close at some point, but he understands how we will go forward with Herges if Nen is not ready.
speedyman: Offensively speaking, where is the biggest question mark?
Sabean: In our minds, it's not who hits behind Barry but who gets on in front of him. Whoever hits in front of him will certainly help Barry and the overall offense if they're all able to have high on-base percentages.
sfgyrosfan: Isn't it true that curveballs don't break in Arizona (like they do in Florida) because of the lack of humidity? Doesn't that interfere with your ability to accurately analyze a pitcher's true effectiveness?
Sabean: There is some truth to that, especially when pitchers try to overcompensate in games, but they have enough side work and do enough throwing to be able to get a feel for the pitch in general.
GK: What are your plans if Jason Schmidt has arm trouble?
Sabean: Currently we are giving [Kevin] Correia and [Ryan] Jensen every chance to impress us and be ready if called upon.
crackereliot: Do you believe that Nen will pitch again in the Major Leagues?
Sabean: Robbie's worked harder than anybody I can remember to make sure that he contributes at the Major League level this year. Unfortunately, it's up to a lot of factors. I believe the will and the confidence is there and that's usually a positive head start.
crackereliot: How much of a distraction to the team and to Barry will the BALCO incident be this year?
Sabean: Our feeling is that it has been far less distracting from the inside looking out than the average person viewing our camp or case from the outside looking in. Barry and the players on the team are experienced and professional enough to not let any outside distractions get in the way of their business at hand.
jlee4555: How is [Jesse] Foppert? Timetable?
Sabean: Jesse is ahead of schedule. There is an outside possibility that he could pitch in the minor leagues in August.
Sabean: Thanks everyone for all the great questions. It's always a pleasure to connect with our paying customers and thanks for your support over the years. We'll see you soon at SBC Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.