Notes: GM's future hinges on season
Sabean's contract in final year; Giants open to retaining Vizquel
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Effectively turning 2007 into a year of decision, managing general partner Peter Magowan said that general manager Brian Sabean's immediate future with the Giants will be reviewed after the season.This is the final season of Sabean's contract, which likely won't be renewed if the Giants duplicate their third-place National League West finishes of 2005-06. San Francisco posted a 76-85 record last season after a 75-87 mark the year before. Magowan repeated his admiration for Sabean -- "I think he's one of the best general managers in the game" -- but leavened that by citing the Giants' recent struggles. "We've had two disappointing years," Magowan said Friday while watching the Giants' workout on a chilly, overcast day. "We're all accountable. I'm accountable, everybody's accountable for performance and I think everybody understands that." Sabean, who also knows that winning is the bottom line in this business, reacted calmly. "It's understandable. Just look at the last two years," Sabean said. "I'm certainly not above going through due process. ... If I was in his position, I think I'd probably treat it the same. There's a lot at stake for the organization. If you ask about pressure, I think the whole organization's under pressure. The last two years have been a huge disappointment and we obviously have to turn that around and get back to the playoffs." The Giants are seeking the same sort of turnaround Sabean engineered after 1994-96, their last stretch of consecutive losing seasons before the current one. Sabean was promoted to GM on Sept. 30, 1996, and ushered the Giants through eight winning seasons in a row, each producing a first- or second-place finish. "I think he's done great things for this organization," Magowan said. But flawed personnel decisions hastened the Giants' struggles and manager Felipe Alou not being retained last October. Numerous players, including Marquis Grissom, Kirk Rueter, Jeff Fassero, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jim Brower and Michael Tucker either played their final games or endured a dramatic decline in skills during the last two seasons. "Everybody's accountable," Sabean said, echoing Magowan. "And these last two years have been extremely frustrating. In some ways, I take it very personal what happened to Felipe last year. The team's lack of performance had as much to do with it being fallible the way it was put together. It didn't hold up as much as they didn't do it on the field."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.