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Winter Meetings, Day Three: A Byrd in the hand is worth, like, $2M, tops.

With Twitter mavens bringing in every stray rumor written on the bathroom wall, this year's Winter Meetings are insufferable. Don't like a player? Don't think he'd be a good fit? Well, people from the St. Olaf Bugler, USA Today, and The Economist are all tweeting that the Giants are extremely interested in that player. Blood pressure up, lucidity down, and we're only 40% through the week.

The rumors make for a neat little fantasyworld, even though there's no way to discern which ones are legit. Brian Sabean might have called the Padres and said something like, "Hey, we have two guys I don't really want to make room for on my bench. Are you giving Kevin Kouzmanoff away?" and the Padres might have chuckled, but the rumor is filtered as: "GIANTS IN ON KOUZ; PADS NOT WACKY ABOUT FRANDSO AND FLEW" by the time newsies are singing it on the the street corners.

And it's tough to take quotes seriously, even when they're straight from the source. There's nothing to gain by raising expectations. After the breathless C.C. Sabathimania of last year's offseason -- the next person to mention a "hometown discount" gets an oyster fork to the throat -- there's no reason for Sabean to say, "Oh, yeah, we have the money for someone like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday. We hope they like us. Are they looking at us? DON'T LOOK! Oh my god, did they see you? Are they looking at us? We totally like them." If those tires need kicking, it's best if they're kicked in the dark when no one else is looking.

If the best options don't like us like us, though, there's also nothing to gain by saying things like...

Man, if we have to start Eugenio Velez in left, we are screwed. Like, totally screwed. And we don't really think Edgar Renteria can still play, by the by. He's done, but, what, are we going to try Brian Bocock again?

It makes sense that the Giants would express faith in the fallback options and the de facto starters, even if there isn't a whole lot of supporting evidence behind the words.

(At this point, my post turned into another 500-word screed against a front office that believes Eugenio Velez is a viable corner outfielder on a team trying to improve an offense. It really did, and it included the words "freak jousting accident" and "spindly baserunning nonsense." I'm not really sure what it had to do with the Winter Meetings, but that's what this time of year does to a fella. The screed will be included on the second disc of the McCovey Chronicles DVD.)

So now that we've established that there's nothing worth believing, the Giants are linked to Marlon Byrd, Mike Cameron, Nick Johnson, Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and maybe even Jason Bay. But not Jermaine Dye, which is disinterest I want to believe in, but I just can't yet. I'd be fine with most of those names on one-year deals, begrudgingly accepting of most on two-year deals, and mortified at anything at three years and beyond for anyone not named Matt Holliday. Well, and Jason Bay, but I don't want to admit that, lest I be beaten with a UZR stick. Those things hurt.

Winter Meetings Day Three Continuation Thread.