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Decisions are looming for San Francisco Giants on Lincecum, Sandoval
April 04, 2013, 05:00 AM By Nathan Mollat Daily Journal

With the San Francisco Giants having signed catcher Buster Posey to a long-term deal, the Giants have a number of key pieces locked up for the foreseeable future, with Posey, and pitchers Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner all in San Francisco for the next several years.

But the Giants brass will have a major decision to make this year and again in a couple more. This is the last year of the Tim Lincecum two-year, $44-million deal he signed, meaning he'll be a free agent at the end of year. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval's extension will be up at the end of next year, giving Giants management another tough decision.

What to do? The Lincecum situation is a lot more cut and dry -- a good performance this season will translate into a big contract, either with the Giants or elsewhere. Even with a strong 2013, I would expect the Giants to be cautious with Lincecum. Having already assigned nearly $300 million to Posey and Cain for the better part of the next decade, it wouldn't be surprising to hear they might not have the money to sign Lincecum to a huge, long-term contract. Given Lincecum's preference for shorter term deals -- so far, anyway -- the Giants might get away with something reasonable to retain Lincecum -- maybe a three-year, $40 to $50 million deal. At least it will give both Lincecum and the team time to prove that 2012 really was a fluke.

The team will have a much tougher decision on Sandoval. On the plus side, Sandoval appears to be one of those talents who was born to hit a baseball. On the negative side is his plus size. Sandoval is quickly entering that "eating his way out of league" discussion. Do the Giants really want to sign a 300-pound third baseman to a long-term, big-money deal? Management can't be happy with Sandoval's "I'll get my weight under control in a couple years" comment, which means he won't get into shape until his walk year. It's not what you want to hear from a possible franchise player.

In my opinion, I wouldn't make any huge commitments to either player. Both still need to prove they are elite-level players, both now and going forward.

***

How good is Sharks general manager Doug Wilson? Not only has he made several, well-timed moves -- trades to pick up draft picks -- he still has the Sharks in playoff contention.

There was a thought as San Jose has struggled in this lockout-shortened season that Wilson would blow up the team and go into a full rebuilding mode. Things weren't looking good as he dealt defenseman Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh. The thought was that was just the first shoe to drop. Since then, however, the Sharks have won four in a row, are in the sixth spot if the playoffs started today and still have a shot to move up to as high as a No. 4 seed.

All the while, Wilson continues to wheel and deal. He sent an underperforming Ryane Clowe to the New York Rangers Tuesday for draft picks and then flipped a conditional draft pick to reacquire former Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan and another draft choice for rugged forward Raffi Torres, one of the toughest -- and some might say dirtiest -- players in the NHL.

It's not often a team trades away major pieces and still stays in the playoff hunt. That is a testament to Wilson.

***

Speaking of GMs, is there any area in the country that has better general managers than those plying their trade here in the Bay Area? San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean, the longest tenured GM in Major League Baseball, has brought two World Series title to the city by the Bay.

Across that small expanse of water is Oakland A's GM Billy Beane, who has done more with less than any general manager probably in history. The jury is still out on the A's neighbor, Golden State Warriors' GM Bob Myers, but considering the Warriors are in a good position to make the playoffs this season, it appears Myers knows what he is doing.

Oakland's other tenant, the Raiders, had a mess to deal with when Reggie McKenzie took over the head man spot. The early returns have not been all that great, but give the man some time. He was very well regarded in Green Bay and, considering the depths the Raiders have been in, it's going to take a few years for McKenzie to turn around that ship.

Then there is San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke, who has only returned the 49ers to their former glory and turned the team back into a Super Bowl contender in just a few short years.

***

Cal Hi Sports released its final girls' basketball poll last week and a couple of San Mateo County teams got a mention.

The Burlingame girls, which won their first Central Coast Section title since 1988, was ranked 16th in the state in Division III.

The Menlo School girls, which won their first CCS title since 1995, was ranked No. 12 in Division IV.

***

Sacred Heart Prep has some coaching openings for the fall sports season. The Gators are looking for football assistant coaches at both the varsity and frosh-soph levels, in addition to a head coach for the girls' frosh-soph volleyball team.

Interested applicants should contact Sacred Heart Prep athletic director Frank Rodriguez at frodriguez@shschools.org or 650-473-4031.

***

Menlo-Atherton has coaching openings for both girls' water polo and wrestling head coaches. Interested applications should contact co-athletic directors Steven Kryger (skryger@seq.org) or Paul Snow (psnow@seq.org) or call 650-322-5311.

***

Notre Dame-Belmont is looking for the following coaches: junior varsity tennis, assistant varsity tennis and assistant freshman volleyball coaches. For more information, contact athletic director Jason Levine at jlevine@ndhsb.org.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: nathan@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. He can also be followed on Twitter @CheckkThissOutt.


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