The thinking goes that while the team can float another year at $130M in total salary obligations ($19M of which is tied up in Barry Zito, $8.5M with Brian Wilson), a trade of either Affeldt or Ramirez, both relievers, could help dislodge some of that salary to sign Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain to long-term contracts. Regardless, Sabean is letting Giants fans down gently (is there such a thing as a gently-laid Giants fan?) by confirming that the team has zero intentions of making a significant big-name signing this off-season:
Giants looking to move Affeldt or R. Ramirez - Ken Rosenthal
"The Giants exercised left-hander Jeremy Affeldt’s $5 million option after the season ended and signed lefty Javier Lopez to a two-year, $8.5 million contract. Now reality is sinking in. The team, trying to reduce the heavy investments in its bullpen, is trying to move Affeldt and/or righty Ramon Ramirez, according to major-league sources."
Brian Sabean: No 'big splash' additions for Giants - John Shea
"There won't be a big splash," said Sabean, adding that he's on board with incoming CEO Larry Baer and ownership that pitching remains the focus, though Sabean still plans to improve the offense beyond his trade of Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera.
Affeldt on the Trading Block? - McCovey Chronicles
"The Jonathan Sanchez trade screws with that theory, though. None of the theories make sense. I like Affeldt, and all things being equal, I'd love him in the bullpen. But not at $5 million in an offseason of firm budgets. It's hard to imagine anyone who would in the Giants' situation. Except for the Giants. Who don't now. They got rid of those option Thetans, and they can think clearly again."