Brian Sabean: Good morning. While I wish we were still playing, unfortunately, we're not. But this gives me an opportunity to chat with our fans, especially our season ticketholders. Your passion for the team does not go unnoticed and it's something we are certainly glad is there.
Jesse Foppert / P
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
gmen: Hello Brian, thank you for another 90-win season. Do you see [Jesse] Foppert as a starter in '05?
Sabean: As of right now, our Major League staff feels that's his best role, and he will pitch in that capacity in Puerto Rico this winter.
splodem: How much money will you have available this offseason to spend on free agents, and besides pitching, what other positions on the team do you plan on addressing?
Sabean: Before we focus on free agents in the outside world, we have to determine who we wish to have back of our own free agents and option players. Once that's decided, we'll have a clearer understanding of our flexibility.
Base_Ball_3: Hello, Mr. Sabean. How is Robb Nen, and if he isn't going to come back, are we going to go after a new closer?
Sabean: Robbie is involved in yet another throwing program. He has expressed a desire to give it another try. Having said that, one of our key areas of concentration in the offseason will be what we do with the bullpen, including the closer role.
mlb_com_member: Mr. Sabean, are there plans for Dustan Mohr to become the starting right fielder? Would you consider trading [Michael] Tucker and/or [Ricky] Ledee for what we need and starting him?
Sabean: Dustan is an arbtitration-eligible player, Tucker is under contract for one more year, and Ledee is a free agent, so we obviously are trying to decide what we'll do not only in right field, but also in center field because Grissom has an option for next year that we have to make a decision on.
Brad Hennessey / P
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
splodem: Do you believe any of the younger players on this team, like Jason Ellison, Tony Torcato and Brad Hennessey, will make next year's roster?
Sabean: It's possible. Favorable things on each one of those players were expressed by our staff in meetings this week.
smallsong: [Jason] Schmidt, [Noah] Lowry and [Jerome] Williams make for a pretty impressive trio. Are the Giants doing everything they can to keep ahold of them?
Sabean: They're all under contract, and they're in our plans.
nebraskaheat: Last January in a chat you said Todd Linden needs one more year in Triple-A. Do you anticipate he will be a big leaguer from the start in 2005?
Sabean: Possibly. He hopes to play winter ball to get some additional at-bats, and our Major League staff is high on his ability.
playoffbnd: The starting rotation held up pretty well this year. What are your plans for next year, and what a great pickup and steal getting Brett Tomko for what you got him for. Obviously, he is in the plans for next season?
Sabean: We appreciated his efforts and a decision on him or our other option players will come on or before the fifth day after the World Series ends.
Base_Ball_2: How do you see Merkin Valdez fitting into the club and how far away is [Matt] Cain?
Sabean: Both Valdez and Cain will be starters at this time, and probably at Triple-A. More seasoning wouldn't hurt their development, but we'll keep an open mind. We'll let them surprise us.
Kirk Rueter / P
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
smallsong: Don't you think Kirk Rueter is more suited for long relief out of the bullpen now that he can barely get out of the fifth?
Sabean: At this time, Kirk will be one of our starters next year, as he is under contract. As we saw late in the season, despite his win-loss record, he's still a big-game pitcher and is obviously still extremely competitive. Being left-handed also helps balance the rotation, especially in our division and our ballpark.
joeball10: Despite your contract status, do you have a desire to lead a rebuilding effort in the "post-Bonds" era or is that something you'd prefer to leave to another GM?
Sabean: I don't believe there will be a rebuilding era, and I have no plans to leave, let alone leave that chore to somebody else. We've rebuilt and retooled every year since '97, and while you don't ever expect to replace a Barry Bonds, we're committed to having the best team on the field each year and challenge for the postseason. I don't believe Barry's departure will deter us from our goal to have the best product on the field.
mlb_com_member_3: Where do you feel our greatest needs are for next season, and what are your plans?
Sabean: We're going to address our pitching staff, and specifically our bullpen, first. We hope to improve our defense and evaluate our position players internally first before we go out into the acquisition mode.
I see a lot of your questions mention specific players from other teams who might become free agents. Talking about any free agents at this time is inappropriate, because they're technically under contract and may re-sign with their own teams.
Pedro Feliz / 1B
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
David_Dobbs: Good morning, Brian. After reading the articles covering [Monday's] press conference, I came away puzzled as to your plans for Pedro Feliz. What are they?
Sabean: Felipe's committed to giving him 600 at-bats at third, first or even the outfield. The at-bats are more important than what position he plays on a full-time basis. At that number, you're considered a full-time player.
Dante_Fattoruso: Mr. Sabean, who are the free agents this year and/or the players eligible for arbitration?
Sabean: The free agents are Dave Burba, Dustin Hermanson, Deivi Cruz, Ledee and Nen. The option players are Marquis Grissom, Tomko, J.T. Snow and Jason Christiansen. Arbitration-eligible are Feliz, Mohr, Yorvit Torrealba and A.J. Pierzynski.
mlb_com_member_2: Since we have an extra $9 million to work with (from not paying Robb Nen), maybe we can get a family discount on Moises Alou and have him bat behind Barry.
Sabean: I can't comment on Moises Alou because he's still under contract with Chicago, as they have a club option. While Robb Nen's contract is expiring, you have to understand that everyone else that returns to the team, no matter what their status, will be due some sort of raise -- in some cases, minimal, and some cases, very significant. So that money gets applied to the players we choose to go forward with or that are already Giants.
joeball10: Brian, in hindsight, was there an over-reliance on the belief that players would be available at the All-Star break at "fire sale" prices?
Sabean: We identified early on from our conversations that it was going to be more buyers in need than sellers with premium players available. A lot of that was a function of more teams feeling that they had a legitimate chance to finish strong or not wanting to disrupt their team's chances of going to the postseason.
jimpansy: Clearly, Brian, the Giants need a) speed b) long relief/bullpen solidity and c) a bona fide closer. Please assure us management recognizes this. Please!
politenessman: Did you find the way Michael Lewis described you in "Moneyball" to be insulting or amusing?
Sabean: Amusing. I took "Moneyball" as seriously as Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs."
phish223: We seem to have a lot of great rookies in order for next season. How do you think they will help the giants in years to come?
Sabean: The more they're able to all compete for meaningful spots on the roster starting next year, the more flexibility it gives us with the roster and more specifically, the payroll.
the_game: What was your biggest surprise from this year?
Sabean: Our young pitchers' success and consistency.
Mark_Richardson: Do you watch the playoffs like a fan? Do you have any rooting interest?
Sabean: Not closely, but I root for the National League.
Yorvit Torrealba / C
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
swong: Who are some of the players that the organization is keeping a close eye during winter ball?
Sabean: Torrealba and Carlos Valderrama are participating in Venzuela. Valdez, Feliz and Alfredo Simon, acquired in the Rodriguez trade from Philadelphia, will be in the Dominican Republic. Ellison will be in Mexico, Torcato and Linden probably in Venezuela, and Foppert in Puerto Rico.
Retesh_Shah: Are there any plans to create a small barrier between the top of the fence and bleachers to prevent fans from interfering with balls in play?
Sabean: Probably not, but at this stage of the game, our fans should know better.
nstern88: Is there a waiting period before you can exercise club options? If not, why not cement Snow and Tomko right now as part of next year's team?
Sabean: All the option players have a clause whereby we can decide on or before five days after the World Series. Some may be addressed before that day.
Base_Ball_2: Brian, will we see a bullpen by committee next year as well, or will there be one guy tasked with the responsibility of handling the eighth inning to set it up for a closer (a la Guillermo Mota)?
Sabean: We hope to have more strength overall in our bullpen and it is always easier to have relievers pitch certain innings and then juggle that or their roles as performance runs hot or cold.
Noah Lowry / P
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: L
smallsong: Are we going to lock Noah Lowry into a long-term contract while we can still afford hm?
Sabean: He's under our control until he becomes a free agent, which would be after the 2009 season.
bubblegum77: Hi Brian -- What do you envision happening with our manager situation after the 2005 campaign? Do you see Felipe [Alou] returning? If not, who would other viable candidates be? [Dave] Righetti? [Ron] Wotus? What about Bob Brenly?
Sabean: We'll leave that up to Felipe.
jimpansy: Prior to the start of the 2004 season, what did you expect the team to achieve? Retrospectively, was this year a success or a failure?
Sabean: We expected to compete for a playoff spot, which we did. In that regard, it was a success, but ultimately, not making the playoffs should be considered a failure.
Tony Torcato / RF
Weight: 195 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R
giants3b: Brian, Tony Torcato had some nice ABs at the end of this season. Does he have a good chance of making the club next year? It seems as though the only thing holding him back at this point is that he really doesn't have a position.
Sabean: He's certainly shown us he can come off the bench as a pinch-hitter. He may challenge for a spot on the roster as an extra man.
Steven_Findley: What positions would you like to upgrade defensively at?
Sabean: We're looking at team defense as a whole, and we weren't particularly consistent in the infield or the outfield.
Thomas_Richardson: Brian, you graciously answered my Feliz question last spring and I have another. After a very impressive year, will we see Pedro Feliz get a starting role next year and is shortstop a likely position for him?
Sabean: As of right now, shortstop will probably not be in our plans for him.
Gary_Ho: Do we have good everyday and pitching prospects in our farm system?
Sabean: In our estimation, yes. We feel that [David] Aardsma, Hennessey, Valdez and Cain are the next wave behind Foppert, Lowry, Williams and [Kevin] Correia in the pitching department.
[Fred] Lewis and [Nate] Schierholtz are behind the likes of Linden, Torcato, Ellison and [Justin] Knoedler.
smallsong: Why didn't we let go of Nen in the last offseason?
Sabean: Unlike some other sports, contracts in our sport are predominantly guaranteed, as was the case with Robb's.
Matt Herges / P
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R
jimpansy: Do you take any personal responsibility for the Matt Herges fiasco? The guy was put in an impossible situation and then left to tread water.
Sabean: I take personal responsiblity for all the personnel decisions. The only lament is us not turning to Hermanson sooner.
midraven: Hi, Brian. Do you see Ellison having a chance at getting a starting shot in center field?
Sabean: His running and defensive abilities certainly don't go unnoticed, but it would be a huge leap of faith to try to predict what he could contribute offensively vs. a veteran alternative.
salvatrucho: Since it seems that we have an abundance of starters, do you see anyone making the jump from starting to bullpen?
Sabean: As we speak, if Tomko returns, we have Schmidt, Tomko, Rueter, Lowry, Williams, Foppert and Hennessey to choose from. To pick five, that depth is certainly needed and reassuring. At some point during Spring Training, it's possible that the two that do not fit into the plans in the starting five could make the Major League team as relievers instead of going back to Triple-A as starters. Having said that, we still need to pick the strongest 11 or 12 man staff to start the year.
Sabean: Thanks for all your great questions -- we received more than a thousand and we're sorry we couldn't answer more. We hope to do this once a month in the offseason, and after the World Series, we'll be able to tell you more about where we stand with our players who have options on their contracts.
Thanks again for all of your support during the year, and I appreciate you spending some time with me this morning.
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