A's, Giants prospects kick off Arizona Fall League 2018 season opener


A's, Giants prospects kick off Arizona Fall League 2018 season opener

The Arizona Fall League opened up its 2018 season with all six teams playing Tuesday in a three-game slate.

Finishing off the night in the desert, A's prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox and Giants prospects on the Scottsdale Scorpions took the field. Prospects from the two Bay Area baseball teams will actually square off in the first two nights of the AFL. 

In Game 1, two A's bats and two Giants bats were in their respective lineups. 

Giants prospects 

C.J. Hinojosa started at second base and batted leadoff for the Scorpions. The 24-year-old started off slow with a ground out and strikeout in his first two at-bats before singling in the fifth and seventh inning. He finished the night 2-for-5 at the plate.

Ranked as our No. 4 Giants prospect in the AFL, Hinojosa has already flashed his ability to put the ball in play. Will any power follow though? 

Matt Winn, who replaced Aramis Garcia on the Scorpions' roster, started behind the plate and hit eighth in the lineup. Winn, our No. 6 ranked Giants prospect in the AFL, had a solid start by going 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. 

Garrett Williams, the Giants' No. 3 ranked prospect in the AFL, is set to start on the mound tonight for the Scorpions.

A's prospects

Luis Barrera didn't hit one home run after his promotion to Double-A last season. And he only knocked three balls over the wall in Stockton. So, of course he hit the first home of the 2018 Arizona Fall League season. 

Except this one didn't make it over the wall either. 

The inside-the-park home run came in the top of the ninth with two outs to give the Solar Sox a 4-3 lead and eventual win. Barrera, our No. 3 ranked A's prospect, went 1-for-4 with the home run. 

Skye Bolt, who we have as the No. 2 ranked A's prospect in the AFL, batted third and played right field. Bolt went 1-for-4 with a fly ball single to left field. He also stole a base with Winn catching. 

The two teams battle again tonight at 9:35 p.m.

MLB free agency: Yusei Kikuchi could be Giants' perfect fit for rotation

MLB free agency: Yusei Kikuchi could be Giants' perfect fit for rotation

LAS VEGAS -- Late Tuesday night, Farhan Zaidi walked down a hallway at the Four Seasons Hotel and knocked on a door for his meeting with Scott Boras. Right away, Zaidi realized he had stopped at the wrong room.

"Rather than stand there and apologize, I made a run for it," Zaidi said, laughing. 

That sprint to Boras' actual meeting room, about 200 yards away, may go down as the most significant action for the Giants this week at the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings. They have been quiet and Zaidi does not expect a substantial move before flying home Thursday, but he does feel he has put down the groundwork for the Giants to potentially make a couple of additions next week. 

Boras may fit into that equation, although not in the way the Giants long planned. They continue to appear to have zero interest in Bryce Harper, and Zaidi's meeting was not one of the marathon sessions with Boras, Harper, his wife and others that have become the talk of the industry. Zaidi went alone, discussing business with a man who still has others the Giants could pursue. 

Chief among them, potentially, is Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, a 27-year-old who profiles as a solid mid-rotation option. Boras said Wednesday that Kikuchi will host interested teams later this month in Los Angeles. The Giants figure to be there. 

"He's been discussed," manager Bruce Bochy said. "So just like a lot of clubs, probably most clubs, there's a high level of interest because of the talent of this pitcher. We're in that mix, too, as far as how good we feel about him."

The Giants could hold a big advantage over others. According to a person familiar with Kikuchi's preferences, he views San Francisco as one of his top potential destinations. Kikuchi, like many Japanese players, would prefer to stay on the West Coast.

The Giants remain intent on adding pitchers of that caliber. A source told NBC Sports Bay Area that they had some interest in right-hander Tanner Roark, who was traded from the Nationals to the Reds earlier Wednesday. According to The Athletic, the Giants were also in on right-hander Lance Lynn before he signed a lucrative three-year, $30 million deal with the Rangers. 

The Giants, with so much money already committed, prefer not to go to that kind of level. But Zaidi does still hope to add to the rotation, and he believes he made progress in Las Vegas. 

"There are guys that have been traded or landed with other teams that we've had conversations about but weren't necessarily comfortable with the ask," Zaidi said. "That's where kind of the fluidity of the plan has to come into the place. For a team with a few needs, it's nice to be in what's a relatively deep free agent market."

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.

5:35 p.m. PT: After trading Tanner Roark to the Reds, the Nationals now have an open spot to fill in their rotation. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal points to Anibal Sanchez as a possibility for Washington.

The 34-year-old Sanchez had a terrific 2018 campaign, posting a 2.83 ERA and 1.08 over 136.2 innings pitched. The veteran right-hander could be a potential veteran fit for the A's, who we know are scouring the market for starting pitching help.

4:09 p.m. PT The Reds announced a trade for Nationals RHP Tanner Roark for RHP Tanner Rainey -- as reported by C. Trent Rosecrans.

4:07 p.m. PT: Jeff Passan announces Justin Bour and the Angels have agreed to a deal pending physical. 

4:01 p.m. PT: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers acquired Lance Lynn:

3:38 p.m. PT: Speaking of Tatis. The middle infielder was in talks with the Mets about a possible scenario with Noah Syndergaard.

3:33 p.m. PT: Don't forget about the Padres. 

The team is looking for a utility infielder until Fernando Tatis Jr. is ready -- he will be competing in camp. Until that happens, there are a few options available and of interest to the team:

According to Dennis Lin, Marwin Gonzalez is of interest as well

2:09 p.m. PT: Ken Rosenthal reported a Reds and Dodgers note that if there was a possible trade between the two teams, Homer Bailey would need to approve it:

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.

12:10 p.m. PT: "The Reds remain active in trade discussions for Sonny Gray and Marcus Stroman" according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi:

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?