It's been a while since I've dropped an A's Hot Stove update on you, and given Adrian Beltre's recent removal from the mix, now seems like a good time.It's also about time for an update on what I'm hearing from my Giants sources, so let's call this a Bay Area Hot Stove Special.A's: Billy Beane is on vacation with his wife and toddler twins, but that doesn't mean he's not working. Heck, traveling with twins is serious work in itself. But Beane's also been crushing whatever minutestext plan he has on his Blackberry, and his assistant, GM-in-waiting David Forst, is surely doing as much work as anyone in the organization. On what are they working? Well, finding a third baseman is certainly a priority right now, as evidenced by Oakland's very real pursuit of Beltre. They certainly weren't going to go 9 mil a year for him, as did the Red Sox, but they did make a big play for the guy.Alas, it didn't work out. Personally, I don't think Beltre ever wanted to go to Oakland. I think he pulled a Rafael Furcal. But that's neither here nor Sebastopol. Bottom line, the A's still need a third baseman, and they still need some pop.As far as third basemen go, I know the team has at least broached the subject of trading for Andy LaRoche, a 26-year-old under contract with the Pirates who has some pop and hits from the right side but made 14 errors last season. A trade for the Padres' Kevin Kouzmanoff, who is two years older than LaRoche with a similar offensive profile (with a lower OBP) but a better glove, has been batted about, too. Neither of those guys will give you the guaranteed 25 bombs that Jack Cust would provide, though, and that's why the A's are still talking with Cust's agent about a possible return. Oakland hasn't yet made an offer, and Cust has already gotten at least a couple offers and is expecting a couple more, but I get the sense that the A's will be given an opportunity to match whatever offer Cust deems most attractive before he actually takes it.And if you're wondering why the A's are so interested in getting a third baseman despite having Jake Fox and Eric Chavez, it's because Fox isn't really a third baseman -- Oakland isn't comfortable with him there on an everyday basis -- and Chavez is, well, you know, Chavez. Nobody sane would be counting on him to be an everyday position player at this point.What about Adam Kennedy, you ask? He'd be a Plan D or E. I'm surprised he hasn't gotten more serious looks this offseason, but there just aren't many openings for a starting second baseman around the game this winter, and that's what he wants to be. Giants: You've probably heard Cust's name in association with the Giants at least a couple of times this winter, and it's probably had you scratching your head. As I've noted before, Cust's defensive issues in the outfield should negate any pitching-based team's infatuation with his power and OBP. But as Cust himself recently told me in a text, "Stranger things have happened."He was talking about returning to the A's at the time, but it applies here, too. The Giants really want to add a left-handed bat, and it seems they're not sold on Nate Schierholtz or any of their other young outfielders, including second-half surprise Eugenio Velez. But would they actually have the stones to throw out Mark DeRosa, Aaron Rowand and Cust in the outfield at AT&T? Look, kiddies: TWO triples alleys!And last I checked, Cust punches out about 4,500 times a year. A good fit this is not.Adam LaRoche, on the other hand, would be a nice fit. He's a lefty with proven pop, he gets on base (.343 career OBP), he drives in his share of runs, and he made only two errors in 148 games at first base last season. There's no question he'd make the Giants a better offensive club, and Pablo Sandoval's ability to play the hot corner would give the team perhaps its best corner infield combo since Matt Williams and Will Clark.But LaRoche must know something about the market that the rest of us don't, because he's said to have turned down a two-year deal worth 17 million from the Giants.So now what? Do you hear it?It's getting louder It's the Miguel Tejada drum, and I'm banging it again. I'd be willing to bet that Tejada has two more good years in him, so why not throw a restructured version of LaRoche's deal at him? One year at 8 million, with a vesting option for 2011 at another 8 mil. If he flops this year, he's gone. If he kills and hits certain statistical heights, he stays and gets paid great money for a 47-year-old.A full year of Freddy Sanchez at second, DeRosa in left, Tejada at third, Panda at first and Juan Uribe at the ready to fill in for Edgar Renteria and everyone else sounds pretty good. Not wow, but pretty good. And put Schierholtz in right for at least the first two months of the season. I'm telling you, the guy can play.Oh, and who's the catcher and fifth starter? Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. The Giants won't shout it from the rooftops, but they think both of them will be just fine in a sink-or-swim situation. They might not be Michael Phelps right away, but they'll won't be Eric the Eel from the 2000 Summer Olympics, either.By the way, if you have no clue who Eric the Eel is, look it up. Hilarious videos out there.
The Giants added two premier face of the franchise players this offseason in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Together the two have combined for eight All-Star Game appearances.
What they don't bring to San Francisco though, is youth. Longoria (32) and McCutchen (31) are the latest to join an again Giants roster. Buster Posey turn 31 in March, Johnny Cueto turns 32 in February, Hunter Pence turns 35 in April, Brandon Crawford turns 31 in January, and Brandon Belt turns 30 in April.
Father Time though, is far from getting Longoria and the rest of the Giants' stars according to the third baseman.
"I believe that all of us believe we're in our prime and we are more than capable of competing," Longoria said Wednesday on KNBR. "That's just ways of making waves in the news. Our job is to just go out and do our job. I think we'll be just fine."
Longoria is entering his 11th season in the big leagues. That has certainly added wear and tear on him, but also added knowledge of his body.
"I'm definitely a different player," Longoria says now at 32 compared to 22. "There's a lot of ways that I prepare now that I didn't have to do or I didn't know how to do when I was a younger player. For me personally, it's going to be quite an experience."
While Longoria and McCutchen may not have the freshest pair of legs in baseball, they are two of the most durable players in the game. In 2017, both players appeared in 156 out of 162 games.
"Being prepared for the season is one thing and I know how to do that and I know how to get myself ready for that," Longoria said. "It's just a matter of the day in and day out homework so to speak that I'll have to do. That's gonna change based on the league and based on the division."
SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings return to Golden 1 Center for a one game stop before heading out for a season-long six game road trip. They’ll face a struggling Utah Jazz team that is 4-15 over their last 19 games.
Sacramento has gone young, choosing rotate veteran players for the final 40 games of the season. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter received the dreaded DNP-CD on Monday in OKC. Who will sit Wednesday at G1C?
Utah had the making of a contending team before Gordon Hayward and George Hill departed via free agency. They are rebuilding around rookie Donovan Mitchell, who has been nothing short of phenomenal in his first 41 games as a pro.
Jazz by 4
MATCHUP TO WATCH
De’Aaron Fox vs. Donovan Mitchell -- Fox is showing that he’s ready to take a major step for Sacramento. In seven games since returning from injury, the Kentucky product is posting 14 points and 6.4 assists and is now averaging in double-figures on the season. Mitchell has the run of the house in Utah and he’s taken full advantage. The 13th overall selection from the 2017 NBA Draft is in a dogfight for rookie of the year honors, scoring a huge 18.6 points in 31.4 minutes per game for Utah.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 13-30, fifth place in Pacific
Jazz: 17-26, fifth place in Northwest
Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (left shoulder strain) out, PG Frank Mason III (heel) out, F Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.
Jazz: C Rudy Gobert (knee) out, SF Thabo Sefolosha (knee) out, Dante Exum (shoulder) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Take Advantage of the Opportunity -- Sacramento’s youth movement is in full swing, but it comes with a bit of pressure. The 25 and under crowd has a 40 game audition to show that they are NBA regulars. Malachi Richardson and Justin Jackson have struggled to get consistent minutes, but when they get a chance, they need to stay aggressive and follow the game plan.
Show up at Home -- The Kings are about to embark on a six game road trip across the country beginning Friday in Memphis. It’s a one game homestand, but still an opportunity to build some momentum heading into a long stretch away.
Snap the Streak -- Sacramento’s lost five straight and 10 of their last 12 games. Utah is scuffling as well. If the Kings bring energy early, they might be able to ride the wave of the Golden 1 Center crowd and get back in the left hand column.
The Jazz took the season series 3-1 over the Kings last season. Utah leads the all-time series 102-82 and holds a 79-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.
"Going forward, what I'm going to do is, we're going to play a rotation where two of our five veterans are going to be out every night. It might be some times there'll be three. It's an opportunity for some other guys to get some minutes as we go throughout the course of the season.” -Dave Joerger on the Kings’ youth movement