The ownership group has self-imposed a salary cap of $130 million for the 2012 season and mandated that Sabean not exceed that amount. The Giants ended the 2011 season with a salary level just under $125 million, so although this is technically an increase, it really isn't.
The increase is eaten up by the scheduled jump in salary for Matt Cain and Brian Wilson. In addition, several arbitration eligible players are due big raises, including Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Vogelsong.
To make matters worse, the Giants are still on the hook for another $46 million for Barry Zito, $19 million of which is owed this year. Then there's the case of Aaron Rowand, who is on the books for 2012 at a cost of $13.6 million and he isn't even on the team.
I have mentioned this before, but I am compelled to reiterate that albatross contracts for Zito and Rowand were the work of then owner Peter McGowan, and not Sabean. These two terrible contracts are a main reason behind why the Giants' ownership group ousted McGowan, in favor of Bill Neukom. It was Neukom who was in charge when the Giants won it all in 2010.
The ramifications of this salary cap for the Giants is that they are unable to spend big money for the impact free-agent bat they covet.
Sabean has tried to bolster the offense by acquiring outfielders Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan in trades. These two are not power bats, however. They are line drive hitters and their speed is a bigger asset than power.
With the salary structure in place currently for the Giants, the only way they can bolster their lineup is from internal development. Continuing to develop young, star players like Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Madison Bumgarner is vitally important for the Giants.
These players all made less than $1 million last year. Developing this young talent is the key to maintaining the financial control of your franchise and still fielding a competitive team.
When we see players like Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and Michael Cuddyer sign hefty contracts, all in excess of $10 million a year, you know the Giants cannot fit that into their budget, unless they decide to let Lincecum or Cain leave.
When journeyman players like Clint Barmes are signing for over $5 million per year, it becomes painfully obvious that the Giants must build through their farm system. This is the only way the Giants can ensure long-term stability of their cost structure and still be competitive.
With this in mind, let's take a position by position look at the players who are coming up through the Giants' organization. Hopefully, some of these players will ultimately become stars for the Giants, but only time will tell.