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Renteria talks with South American leaders; Giants decline option

Big League Stew

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The San Francisco Giants appreciate Edgar Renteria(notes) for winning the World Series MVP Award — just not enough to pick up the hefty option on his contract.

That's OK. Who needs $10.5 million when you are cool enough in South America for two heads of state to pause a summit meeting so they could call to congratulate you?

On Tuesday, Renteria heard from his country's own president, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, along with that rascally president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez.

In the Spanish publication Público, Daniel Lozano writes that Chávez challenged Renteria to a friendly game (presumably of baseball) and expressed the real reason he was so excited about the Giants victory against the Texas Rangers.

"We beat the team of Bush," Chávez said [referring to George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States and Chávez's former political nemesis].

Here's the Público link in its original Spanish. Now, George Bush hasn't owned the Rangers since 1994, but he certainly was the team's most visible fan during the playoffs. And Hugo Chávez obviously was watching.

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Check the photo: The president of Venezuela is doing a fist pump as he talks to Renteria. What a nerd. And Mr. Santos (left) knows it, too.

And, yeah, I'm sure that's what was going through Renteria's mind after he connected against Cliff Lee(notes) in Game 5: "And take that, Rumsfeld!" he probably said rounding third.

Less exhilarating for Renteria: The news coming Thursday that the Giants were declining his option. In 72 regular-season games, he batted .276/.332/.374. He barely made the postseason roster before heating up in the World Series for a .412 batting average with two homers and six RBIs.

This might be the second straight year a World Series MVP packed up and left town; Hideki Matsui(notes) left the New York Yankees via free agency for the Los Angeles Angels after '09.

There's still hope for a Renteria-Giants reunion come spring training, though.

From Extra Baggs:

Giants GM Brian Sabean['s] understanding is that Renteria wants to play and there's a possibility that the 35-year-old could return in a part-time role.

"We have to keep an open mind because the free-agent class isn't very sexy," Sabean said. "It's certainly very short and not at all appealing at the shortstop position. So we'll see. He still apparently wants to play but there's plenty of time given the fact we're not picking up the option and he'd be more of a complementary player."

Well, Edgar will check with Hugo, see what he says, and have his people get back to Sabean's people.

Big BLS H/N: Hardball Talk.

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