It looks like Larry Baer will not get to make a big announcement at the Play Ball Lunch for a third straight year. The Giants and Pablo Sandoval’s representatives have not had any discussions about a contract extension for the third baseman, and general manager Brian Sabean said the club will hold off “as of now.” Team officials still insist they hope to keep Sandoval from free agency when he is eligible after the season and expect to entertain discussions with Sandoval’s representatives sometime during the season. The Giants just don’t feel pressure to get a deal done before Opening Day, as they did with Matt Cain in 2012 and Buster Posey last year. Baer announced those deals to thunderous applause during the Play Ball luncheons, held a few days before each season begins. Sabean had said he would be open to a contract extension based on what Sandoval looked like in spring training because of all the work he did over the winter to get into shape. Sandoval has looked good and played well, but still no contract talks. Frankly, I was a bit surprised with Sabean’s initial openness for an extension given Sandoval’s fluctuating weight and performance during his five-plus seasons in San Francisco. Perhaps the Giants were dangling an extension as a way to inspire Sandoval to keep working on his physique. The Giants declined to extend Hunter Pence after the 2012 season, preferring to see what he could do in a full year as a Giant in 2013. Pence had a great contract drive and earned a five-year, $90 million contract that was signed on the penultimate day of the season. That could be a template for Sandoval, too. Assistant general manager Bobby Evans said agents seem more willing than before to negotiate during the season. Many players set Opening Day as a deadline for extension agreements so the contract does not become a distraction during the season. For Sandoval, it’s not a distraction now. “I don’t know anything about it,” he said today. “I’m focused on baseball. I leave all that to my agent.” Meanwhile, the Giants made news this morning by placing infielder Tony Abreu on release waivers, which is not a surprise even with Marco Scutaro’s immediate future in doubt. Abreu has not played well this spring and fell behind Ehire Adrianza and Brandon Hicks on the middle-infield defense chart. If Scutaro starts the year on the DL, Adrianza and Hicks both could make the team. If Scutaro somehow makes the Opening Day roster, Adrianza figures to get the final roster spot because he is out of minor-league options.
SF Giants do not plan to extend Sandoval’s contract before Opening Day
San Francisco Gate | Mar 23