"We have to have somebody more prototypical from a run production perspective (at third base) than what we've seen last year," Sabean said.
It's yet to be determined whether the Giants will find greater options on the trade front than through free agency. They are determined to be involved as the Miami Marlins seek to shovel off as much of their $295 million commitment to left fielder Giancarlo Stanton, the game's preeminent power hitter, whose presence would represent an instant fix to the Giants' home run woes.
But Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon could interest them, too, as they seek to get more athletic.
Whether the Giants choose to make a major deal and blast past the CBT, or seek a more moderate course, they acknowledge that it will be mandatory to shore up an outfield defense that let down their pitchers on an almost nightly basis and was exposed for its ineptitude in places like Coors Field.
The Giants' MO in trade discussions is to identify players in small to medium markets who are getting more expensive through arbitration, as they did prior to the 2012 season when they acquired Angel Pagan from the Mets.
This winter, Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton -- a premier defender with limited offensive skills beyond his prodigious baserunning ability -- stands out as an obvious target.
Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain is the top free agent center fielder who would represent a clear upgrade, but he will be 32 on opening day -- older than Denard Span was when the Giants signed him prior to 2016.
Of greater concern: Signing a player such as Cain or third baseman Mike Moustakas, who received $17.4 million qualifying offers, would cost the Giants even more because of increased penalties built into the CBT under the newest collective bargaining agreement.
The Giants would lose their second-round draft pick and also their fifth-round draft pick, in addition to having their international signing bonus pool reduced by $1 million in the next full signing period.
The penalties would be even harsher when you consider this: losing a second-round pick is almost like losing a first rounder, since the Giants will select second overall in each round.