Snow looks to future after Giants

Snow looks to future after tenure with Giants

First baseman J.T. Snow has come to grips with the reality that he will not play for the Giants in 2006, and he is now considering his other options.

On one hand, he wanted to retire as with the Giants, and has not ruled out the possibility of retiring from the game altogether. On the other hand, he believes he can still be an everyday first baseman for another club and wants to play until he is 40.

"I'll have to sit down with the family and talk about it. We will do what's best for us," Snow said in a conference call on Friday. "We are a close family, and it comes first."

On Wednesday, the club declined to offer arbitration to Snow and right-handed starter Brett Tomko. Snow cannot sign with San Francisco before May 1, effectively ending his relationship with the team. Snow, who turns 38 on Feb. 26, has been with San Francisco since 1997 and was set to enter his 15th Major League season. Last season, he platooned with rookie Lance Niekro.

"Tonight's decision was not one that came very easily to the Giants," general manager Brian Sabean said on Wednesday night. "J.T. is one of the first players we acquired when I became the [Giants] general manager, and he's been an invaluable member of the Giants organization -- both on and off the field -- during his tenure with the club. All of us in the organization thank him for the contributions he has made to the Giants and for helping us reach the playoffs on four different occasions while he was with us."

Snow said he was informed of the club's decision not to offer him arbitration 30 minutes before the deadline, but he holds no ill feelings toward the organization and is grateful for his time with San Francisco. He said the organization treated him "with a lot of respect" and there had even been talk in the past about joining the club in another capacity once his playing days are over.

"We had a great run the last nine years. I had a lot of great teammates and great guys," Snow said. "I'm proud I got to wear orange and black the last nine years. I loved my time here. I loved playing for the Giants. I was hoping to end my career as a Giant."

Snow was a six-time Gold Glover who earned his 1,500th career hit in his final at-bat last season, singling off Arizona's Brandon Webb on Oct. 2 at SBC Park. As he left the field after the hit, the fans gave him a standing ovation. Looking back, his fondest memories with the Giants involve the 2002 playoff run and his performance during the World Series that year.

"Now I look forward to playing more years with somebody else," he said. "I feel like I got more years left in me. I'd really like to play until I'm 40. It's a goal I set for myself, and one I hope I can achieve."

Snow said he spoke with Sabean last week and was told the club was looking for a left-handed hitter who could play first base and in the outfield. Snow added the entire process was frustrating at times because money or a contract was never discussed. He admits he had come to grips with being a backup player or a hitter off the bench if that is what the Giants needed.

"I was willing to accept that role with the Giants," he said. "There is a big reward for me personally living at home and playing here. ... I still think I can play. I can do what I have done the last three years no problem. I still view myself as an everyday player.

"I would have taken less of a role to stay here," Snow added. "As far as going somewhere else, I'd like to play more and be an everyday guy."

The Los Angeles Dodgers have expressed interest in Snow. He would not mind playing for the Athletics across the Bay in Oakland saying, "[Any team] is a viable option. I'm on the unemployment line, and I'm looking for work."

Retirement is also an option. He recently discussed the topic with his family.

"I've been down this road before," said Snow. "The same thing happened to my father with the Rams. I've been down it as an 8-year-old kid, not as a 37-year-old father. We'll weigh everything and see what's best for us as a family."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.