The Giants are planning their offseason around efforts to re-sign Pablo Sandoval.
General manager Brian Sabean and his staff have told free-agent starting pitchers Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong that the World Series champions need time to try to strike a deal with Sandoval before turning their attention to the mound or any other position. The Giants made a $15.3 million qualifying offer that the switch-hitting third baseman won't accept by Monday's deadline.
“We've engaged, but I'll leave it at that,” Sabean said Thursday. “We're three days in, so that's the best answer I can give.”
Giants CEO Larry Baer said his team's payroll will go up after San Francisco's third title in five years and the club will do what it can to keep Sandoval. San Francisco's payroll was $164.7 million at the end of the regular season, the sixth-highest in the majors.
The 28-year-old Sandoval batted .279 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs in 157 regular-season games and .366 in the postseason with seven doubles and five RBIs, including four during a seven-game World Series win against Kansas City.
While the 2012 Series MVP has said he would like to finish his career with the Giants, he will have other suitors and plans to listen.
“We don't have a solution in house so it would have to come from the outside,” Sabean said. “I'm not going to address anybody at this time other than Pablo; that's who we're engaged with. It wouldn't be fair to the other guys.”
Sabean said the futures of left fielder Michael Morse, Peavy and Vogelsong are on the backburner until third base is resolved. Both Baer and Sabean said a resolution could take a while.
Even speculating at how the Giants might look at left field is tough for Sabean in this first week of free agency.
“We're exploring any place that we may have a hole,” he said. “I can't guarantee what we're going to do with our pending free agents to be, nor will I understand the landscape more until Pablo's resolved. Having said that, if something jumps up, we're prepared to react, bring it to Larry and make a quick decision.”
The Giants have expressed interest in other players who could become available to fill voids on the roster.
When asked whether he might consider a hometown discount, Sandoval said: “I don't want to talk about that. It's not my job. I've got an agent. He focuses on that. When he's got a deal right, I just want to talk about it.”
Sandoval has appreciated seeing the Giants' brass keep other key members of the team, such as signing catcher Buster Posey and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and right-hander Matt Cain to long-term deals.
“I'd love to be here,” Sandoval said after Friday's victory parade.
The Giants hope the Venezuelan star stays loyal to the franchise that signed him as an amateur free agent in 2003.
“We've put out feelers all over the board with our options, whether it's other free agents or trade interest,” Sabean said. “But obviously Pablo's the heavy lifting and that also meets the budget, too.”
While it's unclear whether Peavy or Vogelsong will return, manager Bruce Bochy said struggling right-hander Tim Lincecum â€” barely used in the recent postseason run â€” will be back in the rotation come spring training. Lincecum signed a $35 million, two-year contract last October. He pitched his second no-hitter in 11 months on June 25 against San Diego.
“I see him going back in the rotation. We have a need there, I think that's fair to say,” Bochy said.