The outfielder said he liked his brief time in San Francisco late last season, and he certainly was the cheapest among the top free agent hitters.
"We had sincere interest in Carlos," Sabean said. "Whether it was him or anybody else, we didn't want to be cut short. We weren't going to wait out that market. We ran that risk."
In other words, the Giants anticipated Beltran waiting a while before choosing a team, and that's exactly what happened. He got two years and $26 million from the Cardinals. Sabean said the Giants preferred two years but not at that price.
In the meantime, Sabean wanted to keep the pitching intact and re-signed left-handed relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez. Another factor was that the Giants were interested in Beltran as a left fielder because they prefer Nate Schierholtz's defense in right.
"The problem was, if he became the left fielder, we still had (Aubrey) Huff under contract. We still had (Brandon) Belt, who perhaps makes the team as the first baseman," Sabean said. "In doing so, can you really juggle all that?"
Sabean traded for outfielders Melky Cabrera (from the Royals early in the offseason) and Angel Pagan (during the winter meetings), a cheaper route.
"In meetings and in gut-check decision time, we felt there was no way we could compromise the pitching," Sabean said. "There was no way we could weaken that spot. As it turned out, we think we were fortunate we were able to make the Pagan deal."