Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
The Giants locked up Cain; could Posey be next?
The Giants avoided arbitration with Lincecum (two years, $40.5 million), Vogelsong (two years, $8.3 million, plus an option) and Sandoval (three years, $17.5 million).
In the case of Vogelsong, they bought out one year of free agency, and potentially one more if his option is exercised. The Giants didn't buy out any free agent years for Lincecum and Sandoval, but they did gain a measure of cost certainty by avoiding arbitration.
The big contract extensions came in spring training when the Giants locked up impending free agent Matt Cain and young lefty Madison Bumgarner through 2017 with options for 2018. The Giants could potentially buy out three years of free agency from Bumgarner if his 2018 and 2019 options are exercised, which is a solid bet at this point.
The key move was keeping Cain, who would have been a free agent this winter, off the market. While $127.5 million is a lot of money, the Giants' ace righty showed that he has a good chance of delivering at least equal value over the life of the contract with his stellar performance in 2012.
He threw a perfect game, started the All-Star Game and each of the Giants' clinching games during the postseason. He also set career-bests in wins, ERA, strikeouts, walks allowed and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Giants enter this offseason in a similar place as last winter, though this time around, they're coming off of another championship run.
They probably need another reliever even after retaining Affeldt given Wilson's uncertain status, and they need to stabilize second base and the outfield by retaining or replacing Scutaro and Pagan.
Like Cain last winter, Lincecum is one year away from free agency, but he's coming off the worst season of his career, making a long-term contract extension unlikely at this point.
The Giants may also want to extend a long-term contract offer to their MVP catcher, Buster Posey, who is arbitration-eligible for the next four seasons and a free agent after 2016. A contract extension to provide cost certainty over the next four years and buyout a few years of free agency would make a lot of sense.
It will be difficult for Sabean to replicate the success he had last winter. However, with the core of a championship already in place, there's less work to do this time around.
It's hard to see him pulling off the coups he did last winter in trading for Cabrera and Pagan, but it isn't difficult to imagine him putting together another championship team given his recent track record.