A's, Giants expect to stay in hunt
The Athletics left the winter meetings in Nashville with their shortstop situation still unsettled, but there is a possibility Stephen Drew will be coming back.
An unnamed major-league executive told the San Francisco Chronicle that he believes Drew will sign a one-year deal with the Athletics, and that the contract will include a player option for one additional season in 2014.
But according to a tweet from the Detroit News, the Tigers haven't given up on landing Drew. The tweet said Detroit "will probably be able to pop payroll to add Stephen Drew — if he's their best option."
Just how much Drew will cost the Athletics — or another team — isn't certain. Drew is represented by agent Scott Boras, so he won't come cheap. Boras and Athletics general manager Billy Beane discussed Drew in Nashville.
The A's need a shortstop to tide them over for a year or two until Addison Russell, their first-round draft pick in June from Pace High School in Florida, is ready for the majors. Russell hit a combined .369 with 16 steals in attempts in three minor-league stops during 2012, but none was higher that low Class-A.
Drew, 29, hit just .223 with seven homers and 28 RBI in 79 games in 2012, but he played fairly well for the A's after being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 20 for a minor-league. He hit .250 with five homers in 39 games for Oakland, but his play at short improved the A's defensively and allowed the club to move Cliff Pennington to second base.
But Pennington was traded to the Diamondbacks in October in a three-team deal that brought the A's outfielder Chris Young.
The Giants have upped their payroll in an effort to put the championship-winning band back together, and the mission is clear. It's World Series title or bust for this group, and manager Bruce Bochy is confident that he won't need to give out any reminders. Bochy said he doesn't anticipate finding any complacency next spring, and doesn't believe it will be hard for the Giants to find extra motivation, even after they satisfied their hunger for the second time in three years.
"Hopefully you realize that's why you play the game," Bochy said. "Hopefully they will savor and cherish (the 2012 run) for the rest of their lives, but success is never final."
The roster, however, nearly is. With Jeremy Affeldt, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro back in the fold at a combined price tag of $78 million, the Giants guaranteed that last year's group will return almost entirely intact. They hope to add a right-handed hitting left fielder and a right-handed pitcher, but any further additions will come from the bargain bin.
The winter meetings spending spree, along with coming agreements with arbitration eligible players such as Buster Posey and Sergio Romo, will carry the payroll past $140 million for the first time.
Asked about Bartolo Colon during his session with the media earlier this week, A's manager Bob Melvin said he wasn't concerned about bringing back a player who was suspended in August for use of a banned substance. The A's re-signed Colon to a one-year deal last month.
"I certainly don't think this is something that he's done over the course of his career, and he just made a mistake," Melvin said. "He's a quality person — everybody that's around him knows that. He was a good fit for us, and he's just going to take his punishment and come back and try to do his thing in the same fashion that he did last year."
Melvin said Colon, who was 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA at the time of his suspension, can continue to be a resource for the A's young starters. Asked about the positive test, Melvin said, "(Colon) just made a mistake, and he's paid for it."
Colon talked to several teammates and Melvin after the suspension was handed down, expressing remorse.
- The Giants and St. Louis Cardinals reportedly were the final two teams bidding for Scutaro's services on Tuesday, and according to a rival executive, St. Louis preferred a one- or two-year deal with a higher annual salary. The Giants re-signed Scutaro after they guaranteed a third year. Scutaro and Pagan will be in San Francisco today for physicals that will make their deals official.
- Even with an overflowing starting staff, A's general manager Billy Beane will continue to monitor the market for right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who was 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA last season.
"You're always concerned with depth," Beane said of his starters. "I would suspect that given (McCarthy's) talent and the lack of starting pitching out there, he's going to be attractive to quite a few teams."
- Giants general manager Brian Sabean was named Baseball America's major league executive of the year, Evans was presented with the Bowie Kuhn Award and vice president of communications Staci Slaughter won the Robert O. Fishel Award for public relations excellence. The San Jose Giants were honored by the California League for excellence in marketing and promotions.
- During an appearance on MLB Network, Bochy didn't hesitate when asked if he would consider again using Tim Lincecum as a reliever if the Giants reach the 2013 postseason.
"Oh, I'd do it again - sure," he said. "Any time you have a guy like this who can go multiple innings, shut down the offense and dominate, it can change the game. Without question I'd do it again."