Giants

Brian Wilson likely headed to free agency

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Brian Wilson likely headed to free agency

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian Wilson and the Giants are nowhere near agreement on the shape of a contract for 2013, and barring a last-minute change, the All-Star closer and former World Series hero will be able to shop his services on the open market beginning 9 p.m. Friday night.Wilson will become a free agent if the Giants do not tender him a contract by the deadline. Because tendering him a contract would guarantee him a minimum salary of 6.8 million through arbitration, I'm told Giants do not plan take that tack and Wilson, from what I understand, is viewing that stand as an affront.RELATED: Could Brian Wilson wind up with the Dodgers?
The Giants appetite is to negotiate an incentive-laden contract with a lower guaranteed salary with Wilson. Sabean acknowledged the two parties are not at that stage but he intended to use the nine or so hours remaining before the deadline before making a tender decision just to be thorough.In other words: Almost certainly, Wilson will become a free agent. So his return will be determined by whether he gets a better deal on the open market.The Angels might have provided one clue. They just gave right-hander Ryan Madson a 3.5 million guarantee with another 3.5 million in incentives based on days spent on the active roster and games finished. Madson had Tommy John surgery in March, just a few weeks before Wilson did.RELATED: Giants 'jockey' with Pagan, Scutaro
Then again, Wilson's Tommy John procedure was his second, which makes his rehab schedule and outlook less predictable. Sabean said Wilson is going at a snails pace, which is to be expected following the procedure in April; he continues to play catch from 60 feet on flat ground and has vowed to be fully operational by opening day.Whether Wilson returns or not, it's likely to be another casting call again as the Giants figure out a closer to begin the season. Sergio Romo's emerging effectiveness against left-handers, combined with his terrific postseason culminating with his final pitch to strike out the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera to clinch the World Series title, makes him the prime candidate. But Jeremy Affeldt is returning as well, and the Giants are talking to right-hander Santiago Casilla, who is arbitration-eligible, about a multiyear deal.Although Sabean will look for relief depth on the open market, it will be dependent on what dollars remain, if any, after the club either re-signs or replaces second baseman Marco Scutaro and center fielder Angel Pagan.

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

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AP

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

Tim Lincecum was back on a mound Thursday, trying to prove to teams once again that he still has a little bit of magic left in his right arm. 

The former Giants star held a bullpen session for scouts Thursday in Seattle. The event was closed to the media, but Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that between 25 and 30 scouts were in attendance. 

And Lincecum may have some of his velocity back. According to Heyman, Lincecum was sitting between 90 and 93 miles per hour. 

Lincecum last pitched in 2016 with the Angels. In that season, his fastball averaged just 88.4 miles per hour. In nine starts with the Angels, Lincecum was nowhere near what he once was and went 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA. 

The Giants planned to be at Lincecum's showcase, according to Insider Alex Pavlovic. 

Over nine seasons with the Giants, Lincecum posted a 108-83 record and a 3.61 ERA. He won back-to-back National Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009, was a four-time All-Star and led the league in strikeouts three times. 

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

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USATSI

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

SCOTTSDALE — Catchers are usually the only position players to hit on the main field during the first few days of spring training, but Austin Slater snuck into a group Thursday to take a few cuts. With manager Bruce Bochy leaning against the back of the cage, perhaps Slater’s session will serve as a reminder: I’m still here, don’t forget about me.

The 25-year-old broke through last summer before injuries halted his progress. As Slater focused on getting healthy this offseason, Bobby Evans focused on overhauling the outfield. That has left several familiar faces in precarious spots, and Slater finds himself fighting for a fifth outfielder job a year after batting .282 in his first 117 big league at-bats. 

At the same time, he’s trying to balance competition with health. He wants to push for an Opening Day job, but also is very aware that he needs to back it down at times as he recovers from sports hernia surgery.

“You want to prove that you can play here and win a job, but (the staff) stressed health over everything,” he said. “It does no good to push and then start the season on the DL. For me, health is the most important thing. I feel like if I’m healthy I can prove myself. There’s nothing I can prove on the DL.”

Slater originally tore his groin on July 8 and the Giants thought it would prove to be a season-ending injury. He worked his way back ahead of schedule, though, seeing limited action before sports hernia surgery the last week of September. “They went in there and cleaned up the groin,” he said, smiling where others might grimace. The procedure kept Slater from playing in the Dominican Republic as planned, although that might have been a blessing in disguise. 

The Giants were aggressive with their winter ball plans because so many young players got hurt during the season. But Jarrett Parker lasted just 24 hours before being sent home with a health issue. Christian Arroyo’s hand swelled up soon after he arrived, and he headed home. Ryder Jones immediately got food poisoning and lost 12 pounds in just over three weeks before player and team decided a mutual parting would be beneficial. 

Slater stayed home throughout, living in the Bay Area and rehabbing. The Giants told him to focus on his rehab instead of lost at-bats and then come out and try to win a job in Scottsdale. By mid-November, he was hitting again. By Thanksgiving, he was on a regular lifting and running schedule. In late January, he felt like his old self again. 

For the Giants, that means a versatile option in a new-look outfield. Slater had a .290/.343/.430 slash line going before his first injury and he’s working to tap into more power. As Bruce Bochy pointed out Thursday, Slater has a long history of putting up numbers at every level. 

“He really did a nice job of figuring out what it takes to play in the major leagues, and he has a tendency throughout his career to just get better,” Bochy said. “You have to love his right-handed bat. He’s got some pop. I think he can play all three outfield positions, so he’s in the mix.”

The Giants have Andrew McCutchen in right and Hunter Pence in left and Austin Jackson as the third guy, and Bochy’s preference is to have a true center fielder as his fourth outfielder. That leaves Slater fighting for the fifth job, alongside many others. No matter what he did last year or does this spring, Slater has options remaining, and that will come into play. A year after using 13 different players in left field, the staff is intent on having greater depth at the Triple-A level. 

Slater is a Stanford product who spent the offseason surrounded by Giants fans. He knows the math after the offseason moves.

“It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “It just adds some great guys to learn from, and there are still outfield spots to be won, so it’s not discouraging, it’s encouraging. I didn’t expect them to keep an open roster spot for a guy with 120 at-bats. We’re trying to win a championship here.”