The old softshoe is back, Mr. Talkin' Much and Sayin' Little, just give 'em the old razz-ull dazz-ull but in that monotone New England way, though I should say that as I caught the season's first "Brian Sabean Show" on KNBR this afternoon I thought he was a bit more forthcoming than usual. Just keep in mind Billy Beane's timeless assessment of Sabes: like a shark with its fin just under the water, not to mention the "master of the dry hump." What, you haven't read Moneyball? Get thee to a bookery!
Here's a synopsis of today's radio spot:
* Benitez's name has "been out there" as a trade possibility, but the offers weren't enough, and the bullpen situation forces the Giants to be "pragmatic." In other words, ain't no one else to do the job. Certainly not Brian Wilson because...
* Wilson has fallen "flat on his face" this spring. Harsh words from Sabes. Not pleased at all with Wilson's spring performance. He may not make the team.
* It's likely Jonathan Sanchez will start the year in the bullpen, but Sabes hasn't been happy with Sanchez either. His mechanics are off, he's been pitching with a fastball only...sounds like Sanchez hasn't progressed much from the end of last year.
* Sabes didn't dispute the assertion that his job is "on the line" this year. He said "the farther away you get from the World Series," the more the pressure, and that he's OK with it. He didn't raise his voice, get defensive or in any other way seem put out by the question. Very smooth.
* Jason Ellison is what the team needs and has "the inside track" to make the team, although he didn't specifically say Ellison was on the squad. Sabes thinks both Niekro and Ellison would get claimed on waivers, and he'd hate to lose either of them with nothing to show. Sweeney is not out of the mix, but about the best Sabean could muster in Sweeney's defense is that he's a proven veteran -- "we know what he brings to the table." Something like that.
* Tim Lincecum will definitely be a starter in Fresno. Sabes sounded extremely reluctant to convert him to a closer if that need becomes apparent. He's not sure Lincecum could take the pounding a closer's body takes, though he also acknowledged the kid has a "rubber arm." Whatever the case, Sabes said he's "on the fast track." He just needs to work on his command.
* Pedro Feliz has progressed more from last year than any Giants hitter. He widened his stance and is taking balls to right field. He's also shortening up with two strikes. [Ed. note: Riiiiiight.]
* Linden is playing with a lot of confidence and, as a switch hitter with power, has been a late bloomer. Sabes says he'll get 300 at-bats easily and now that he's playing a decent centerfield could get 4 to 5 starts a week. Sounds like Linden is an option to start in center on days Roberts sits against lefties.
* Everything has to be decided after Saturday's game; opening day rosters are due to MLB Sunday at noon. Five more days...Five more days...