Bill Neukom officially announced that he will retire from his position as the Giants' CEO at the end of the season, according to a press release from the club. Current team president and COO Laurence Baer will officially take over as the Giants' new CEO on January 1, 2012. Here are a few of the hot stove-related items from Baer's introductory press conference today at AT&T Park, plus some other links related to the transition….
- Baer said he wants Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy to remain as the Giants' GM and manager, respectively, reports Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. Sabean and Bochy are both under contract only through 2012, though both have been expected to receive extensions given the team's World Series title last year. Kawakami also speculates about the "dysfunction at the highest levels" that led to Neukom's retirement and guesses the Giants will be operate "much more like a corporation than before."
- Baer said the Giants' payroll next season "won't go down" from what the team spent in 2011, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, though Baer didn't say if payroll would rise, either. According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Giants' 2011 payroll was a little over $118MM. The club has a few notable contracts coming off the books (Cody Ross, Mark DeRosa) but if the payroll doesn't rise, that will take the Giants out of the running for a top free agent like Prince Fielder.
- Also via a tweet from Shea, Baer didn't elaborate on Barry Zito's future in San Francisco, other than to say that players under contract for 2012 should be expected to be with the team next year.
- The Giants are just switching CEOs, not ownership, so Major League Baseball doesn't have any leverage that would allow it to force the Giants to drop their objection to the A's moving to San Jose, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (both Twitter links).