And that is exactly what Sabean was railing about in his tirade against the reporters a while back: the impression that the Giants are "doing" something, that they are "pursuing" Cantu, Encarnacion, Atkins, Wiggington, I-Rod. This is the attitude that I've seen in many posters complaining about the Giants, this off-season, for many off-seasons. Every time there is a rumor about a lousy 3B-man (or 1B), they bemoan, "Oh, that Sabean again! What about youth? What about young players?"
As far as I can see right now, it has been mostly the other way around, those teams/agents are looking to unload their player so they throw out the Giants and Sabean into the rumor mill. And maybe there is a kernel of truth in that Sabean possibly did call them to "kick the tire" (as he noted, when you are losing like they are, you have to be open to all possibilities), if you want to use Sabean-isms, and it ended at that from the Giants end, but then the other party leaks the rumor that the Giants are interested.
And this follows up on last year's offseason, there were a SF Bay-full of rumors that the Giants were interested in Crede, Tony Clark, etc. Many players who fitted a Giants need had the Giants attached to the rumor, and yet nothing happened for the vast majority of them, especially all the trade ones.
Just because there is a rumor out there does not mean the Giants and Sabean are doing that, in fact, given his penchant for not releasing any type of information (or allowing anyone in our organization to leak such info), this suggests that it is normally the other interested party trying to drum up interest in their player, whether opposing team or agent, who are leaking this information.