Giants notes: Ryder Jones makes most of pinch-hit opportunity

Giants notes: Ryder Jones makes most of pinch-hit opportunity

MILWAUKEE — Ryder Jones made the most of a one-day cameo in Oakland earlier this season, hitting an impressive homer to right field. He appears ready to try to do the same with a September call-up. 

On a night that looked like so many others this season, Jones gave the Giants a brief jolt by crushing a two-run shot to right-center off Joakim Soria. He got the Giants within one in the eighth, but the comeback fell short. The Giants lost 4-3 to the Brewers, dropping a seventh straight. 

Manager Bruce Bochy would like his hitters to be more aggressive. Too many, he said, are going down looking. Jones put a ride into the first pitch he saw. 

“He and [Chris] Shaw, they’ve got plus power,” Bochy said. “If they get ahold of it and it’s in the air, it’s going to go.”

Shaw hit a 468-foot homer at Coors Field. Jones is the king of exit velocity right now. Both of his home runs this season have left the yard at 112 mph, and he has two of the seven hardest-hit balls by a Giant this year despite playing just four games. 

Bochy sent both Jones and Shaw up to pinch-hit late against a good Brewers bullpen. He said he wants to learn something about his young players, and not just in starting roles. Jones is blocked at first and third, but he’s still young and plenty talented enough to grab a significant bench role next season. 

“Everybody here wants to be on the opening day roster next year,” he said. “You’re just trying to go out and do what you can and show your ability, be aggressive and help the team.”

--- Bochy had a choice to make in the eighth. With right-hander Jeremy Jeffress on the mound and the tying run in scoring position, he let Hunter Pence hit with two outs. Brandon Belt could have replaced Pence, but he was on deck to hit for Aramis Garcia. Pence struck out. 

“If you look at Hunter he’s gotten some big hits in that situation,” Bochy said. “He’s got a knack for finding a way to come through. He had a nice hit earlier in the game and is in the flow of the game. He’s a veteran that wants to be in that situation and that’s part of it.”

To be fair, when Belt did hit in the ninth, he struck out. 

--- The Giants are still looking for a pitcher with 10 wins. Chris Stratton gave up four runs in five innings, falling to 9-9. 

--- Abiatal Avelino struck out twice in his big league debut, although one was a Phil Cuzzi Special. He also showed off a weird pre-at-bat routine.

Free agent Troy Tulowitzki draws interest from Farhan Zaidi, Giants


Free agent Troy Tulowitzki draws interest from Farhan Zaidi, Giants

LAS VEGAS -- Farhan Zaidi has proven to be nimble when asked about rumors and potential trade options. But he did give a hint Tuesday night when asked if the Giants could take a look at Troy Tulowitzki, a Bay Area native who was released by the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the day. "

"Good minimum-salaried players are worth a phone call. How about that?" Zaidi said, laughing.

Tulowitzki was released with $38 million remaining on his deal, but his next team would be on the hook for just the MLB minimum. The Giants made a similar move in 2017 when they scooped up Pablo Sandoval, with the Red Sox owing nearly every penny remaining on his deal.

However, this one is still a long shot for a number of reasons. Tulowitzki, 34, has played just 66 games the last two years and didn't play at all in 2018 because of injuries. If he's healthy, Tulo is likely to find a much better situation than San Francisco, where Brandon Crawford is locked in at shortstop and Evan Longoria at third.

But there's a chance Tulowitzki could move to second base, where the Giants might need right-handed help for Joe Panik. And, of course, Tulowitzki grew up in the Bay Area (Sunnyvale, to be exact) and is familiar with the NL West after so many years as a star with the Rockies.

Earlier Tuesday, The Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported that Tulowitzki would love to play in the Bay Area and would be willing to change positions. Slusser also tweeted that he would like to play for a winning team, making him seem like a better fit for the A’s than the current Giants.

But at the very least, Zaidi expects to make a phone call to find out if the five-time All-Star is interested in continuing his career in San Francisco.


MLB rumors: Live Winter Meetings free agency, trade news on Day 3


MLB rumors: Live Winter Meetings free agency, trade news on Day 3

Baseball fans waiting for big deals should stay glued to the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings on Wednesday.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain free agents, and the Dodgers still have their surplus of outfielders, but it only takes one major move for the dominoes to fall. Those deals typically happen as the Winter Meetings close, if past years are any indication.

[RELATED: News, rumors on Day 2 of the MLB Winter Meetings]

As for the Bay Area teams, the Giants reportedly are less likely to trade Madison Bumgarner now, but they're possibly seeking help at second base and at catcher. The A's have made some minor moves, but they desperately need starting pitching, so is this the day they'll find it?

Keep it here throughout Day 3 of the Winter Meetings for the latest live news, rumors and trade chatter from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. It could be a busy one.

12:55 p.m. PT Charlie Morton and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a two-year, $30 million deal according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan:

The righty had a sensational campaign this past season. In 167 innings, he bolstered a 3.13 ERA with a 15-3 record. Those numbers earned him an All-Star selection.

12:38 p.m. PT: Another Boras nugget hot off the stove: Left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi will meet with teams later this month. According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, expect the Giants to get a meeting.

Sung Min Kim broke down Kikuchi's game to NBC Sports Bay Area's Jessica Kleinschmidt, and this is a pitcher who should excite Giants fans. 

12:12 p.m. PT: Scott Boras held court in Las Vegas, and the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser asked Boras if top A's prospect Kyler Murray could play football and baseball.

Forgive the pun, but Boras punted.

10:45 a.m. PT: About that A's opening at second base. Oakland is reportedly talking to the Texas Rangers about a trade for Jurickson Profar, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Profar is coming off of the best season of his career. He set career highs in ... literally every offensive category, and has the positional versatility the A's love. At 26 years old and with another year of team control beyond 2019, he fits age-wise. The A's and Rangers have traded together before, too, so this is a possibility to monitor.  

10:35 a.m. PT: The Giants are still looking to add (at least) a couple of outfielders, but one option could soon have an offer elsewhere. The Atlanta Braves are reportedly preparing to make an offer to former Arizona Diamondback A.J. Pollock. 

The Braves don't seem to be in much of a rush, so this doesn't rule out Pollock as an option for the Giants. 

9:25 a.m. PT: The A's are looking for a second baseman, and Cleveland is shopping second baseman Jason Kipnis. Still, there reportedly hasn't been much interest in the former All-Star, according to's Paul Hoynes.

Hoynes noted that the amount of second baseman available in free agency is driving down Kipnis' trade value. He's coming off of two down years, and his contract ($13.5 million this season) may be too rich for the A's, but Kipnis' own pending free agency could make him an option down the line.

8:04 a.m. PT: Not so fast on J.A. Happ to the Yankees. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and others are reporting there isn't an agreement in place with the New York Yankees yet. 

Happ is likely out of the A's price range, but his signing should set the market for other pitchers Oakland could pursue. 

7:15 a.m. PT: We have our first deal of the day ... well, reportedly, at least. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal is reporting the New York Yankees have an agreement with lefty J.A. Happ.

Financial details were not immediately known, but Happ's signing takes one top-end starter off the market. Might the dominoes start to fall on the mound for the A's?