NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Giants acquired Angel Pagan at last year's Winter Meetings. As their delegation arrived for this year's Meetings, they had to prepare themselves for the possibility of losing him.Pagan's free-agency destination remained one of the biggest issues involving the Giants as they approached baseball's three-day gathering beginning Monday. Despite their status as reigning World Series champions, the Giants are striving to keep their roster together -- or at least the top of their batting order. Besides Pagan, who batted leadoff through much of the 2012 season, they're trying to retain second baseman Marco Scutaro, who excelled in the No. 2 spot after he joined San Francisco in a July 27 trade with Colorado. Giants general manager Brian Sabean, who improved the ballclub with virtually every move he made last season, said that he and his staff have "created some options" if one or both players depart. Those alternatives will likely come through free agency, given Sabean's lack of optimism regarding trading possibilities.
"We're not going to be that active in the trade area," the GM said.Thus, the Giants will look harder at free agents such as Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino and Nick Swisher if they lose Pagan, who arrived last Dec. 7 from the New York Mets for outfielder Andres Torres and right-hander Ramon Ramirez. Much depends on what happens with Pagan. who hit .288 and recorded career bests in runs (95), doubles (38) and triples (15). The Giants also could use an everyday left fielder, but Sabean said addressing that position would "have to wait to see if we get Pagan. [It's] a function of what's left in the budget." The Giants conceivably have a little more operating room in the budget after declining to offer a contract to erstwhile relief ace Brian Wilson, who's recovering from his second Tommy John elbow surgery. Wilson earned $8.5 million last season while appearing in just two games, but San Francisco couldn't have cut his pay by more than 20 percent, to $6.8 million. Ultimately, San Francisco proved unwilling to do even that.
Wilson, who has started throwing at a 60-foot distance on flat ground, will have to accept a deal that includes a low base salary and plenty of performance bonuses. Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said that the club would stay in touch with Wilson's agent, Dan Lozano, but no deal appears forthcoming.Manager Bruce Bochy, who's assigned with the task of best deploying the players that Sabean gives him, will speak with reporters on Tuesday afternoon to share his early thoughts about 2013. Fans may use the comments section to submit potential questions for Bochy or Sabean throughout the Meetings.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.