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Thursday, November 1, 2007
Updated: November 2, 4:38 AM ET
Giants GM Sabean to determine feasibility of signing A-Rod

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean plans to "kick the tires" to determine the feasibility of signing free agent Alex Rodriguez, but characterized the team's chances of acquiring the slugger as "a reach."

With Barry Bonds' tenure in San Francisco over after 15 seasons, there has been speculation that the Giants could try to replace baseball's home run king with the player considered to have the best chance to break Bonds' record.

Rodriguez recently opted out of his $252 million, 10-year contract with the New York Yankees and filed for free agency. Sabean was asked on a conference call Thursday whether the team was willing to commit a large percentage of its payroll to a player expected to receive a contract worth $30 million or more per year.

"I don't even know that they know what their expectations are," Sabean said of A-Rod and agent Scott Boras. "You have to do due diligence. I think that's the best way to put it: kick the tires on anything, including him. In baseball, almost anything is possible. How probable something like that would be would be a reach for me for the reasons you said. It can literally hamstring what you want to do for quite a while."

A-Rod Worth A Lot

Alex Rodriguez has an impressive career resume, which figures only to grow. Some of his career highlights:

• Youngest ever to hit 300 HR, 400 HR, 450 HR, 500 HR
• 6 straight 40-HR seasons; 10 straight 30-HR seasons
• 3 50-HR seasons
• 2 MVPs (2003 & 2005)

In addition, he's on the short list of players who have led baseball in home runs, RBIs and runs in the same season:

Player HR RBIs Runs
Alex Rodriguez, 2007 54 156 143
Roger Maris, 1961 61 142 132
Mickey Mantle, 1956 52 130 132
Johnny Mize, 1947 51 138 137
Ted Williams, 1942 36 137 141

The 32-year-old Rodriguez led the majors with 54 homers and 156 RBIs this season. His 518 career home runs are the most by anybody his age and 184 more than Bonds' 334 at the same age. Bonds holds the career mark with 762 home runs.

Sabean said the team was already in discussions about a one-year deal with a vesting option for free-agent shortstop Omar Vizquel, and was interested in re-signing third baseman Pedro Feliz.

The priority this offseason is improving an offense that finished last in the majors in slugging percentage with a .387 mark and second-worst with 693 runs scored. That will have to be done without Bonds. Sabean reiterated the team's stance that it will not bring him back despite recent comments by the slugger that suggested there was still a chance he could return to San Francisco.

With a thin free-agent pool, Sabean said upgrades might require trading some of the club's young pitchers.

Rookie Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are expected to stay in San Francisco, but the team could entertain deals for Noah Lowry or Jonathan Sanchez.

The Giants also hired a new hitting coach Thursday, giving the job to former AL batting champion Carney Lansford.

Lansford, a five-time All-Star who won the batting title in 1981, received a two-year contract to replace Joe Lefebvre on manager Bruce Bochy's staff. Lansford grew up in the Bay Area cheering for the Giants.

Lansford said he will encourage "unselfish baseball," with players taking pitches to allow for stolen bases. He wants his hitters advancing runners and creating runs.

"We have to do whatever it takes to win a ballgame," he said. "If that means taking pitches, you have to do that and feel good about it. At the same time, still move that runner over so the next guy can pick him up. That's hard to do sometimes, but winning ballclubs do that."

Sabean quickly added that did not mean the team didn't want to have any power in the lineup.

"We're not looking to have a Punch and Judy team," he said. "Nor is Carney going to be a Punch and Judy hitting coach. We believe in trying to hit doubles, trying to hit the ball as hard as you can. There will be times where those doubles are going to turn into home runs."

Lansford batted .290 during a 15-year career with the Angels, Boston and Oakland. Lansford, who was hitting coach for the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate this season, had previously been a bench coach for Tony La Russa in Oakland (1994-95) and St. Louis (1997-98).