Executives, agents and even some players descend on the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for the MLB Winter Meetings, starting Monday.
Roster construction, either through signings and/or trades, is the goal for many teams, and both Bay Area teams figure to be heavily involved. The Giants, with new president of baseball operation Farhan Zaidi, have numerous questions to answer, particularly in the rotation and the outfield. The A's also need rotation depth -- heck, they need a rotation, period -- and finding a second baseman and a catcher would be nice, too.
Keep it here throughout Day 1 of the Winter Meetings for the latest news, rumors and trade talk, as MLB teams reshape their rosters for the 2019 season.
11:52 p.m. PT: Why did the Giants let go of Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez? Farhan Zaidi had the answers on the first day of the Winter Meetings.
Hunter Strickland went from Opening Day closer to being non-tendered by the Giants. Farhan Zaidi, the new man in charge, explains that move and more (via @PavlovicNBCS) https://t.co/kWieknTMQg pic.twitter.com/7jDoxxfi8M— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) December 11, 2018
11:45 p.m. PT: Good news, Giants fans: You may not have to watch Yasiel Puig play for the Dodgers much longer. Los Angeles is making Puig available in trade talks, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman.
Dodgers have a plethora of good outfielders, and Bellinger is the one most coveted. But of course he’s the 1 Dodgers most want to keep. Puig, Peterson, Taylor, even Verdugo more available. Dodgers. match up well with both marlins and indians.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2018
Giants-Dodgers will never lack for sizzle, but a Puig-less rivarly won't be nearly as entertaining.
10:51 p.m. PT: Khris Davis doesn't become a free agent until next summer, but he's still a "huge prority" for the A's.
"Khris is a huge priority for us, and that conversation is always ongoing."— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) December 11, 2018
That's where David Forst and the A's stand with Khris Davis in contract extension talks (via @BenRossSports) https://t.co/trJ5DNY8jR pic.twitter.com/4iFAaxVpwL
9:43 p.m. PT: Jonathan Lucroy settled things down for the A's behind the plate in 2018. That may not happen in 2019, if the reports surrounding his contract negotiation are any indication.
8:18 p.m. PT: The New York Mets are making a hard push for a rumored Giants target: All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Yankees do like Gary Sanchez very much, as they’ve said, so not sure how Realmuto deal would work for them. It’s been suggested Yankees involvement could be 3-way situation with them being the conduit.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2018
#Mets have discussed trade in which they would land J.T. Realmuto in three-team deal with #Yankees and #Marlins, sources tell The Athletic. Not known if Syndergaard involved. NYM would not part with Syndergaard (three years control) if getting only Realmuto (two years) in return.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2018
#Mets have been in steady talks with #Yankees since Brodie Van Wagenen became GM, sources say. NY teams have not made trade involving major leaguers since 12/3/04 (Mike Stanton to NYY for Felix Heredia). @JonHeyman first noted possibility of NYY serving as conduit for Realmuto.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2018
#Mets discussing multiple two- and three-team scenarios involving Realmuto and others, sources say. Team continues to place premium on their SP; would move Syndergaard only for big return. Tyson Ross signed today for $5.75M. Syndergaard will not cost much more in 2019.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2018
The Giants were linked to Realmuto last month, and it was reported earlier Monday that the Marlins lowered their asking price for the catcher. Just not enough for the Giants' liking, apparently.
7:08 p.m. PT: The Yankees ruled themselves out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, but that hasn't stopped "several teams" from meeting with the superstar in his hometown, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman.
Bryce Harper Las Vegas rundown: He’s met with several teams here off site in his hometown. And has a few more to go. Also, a “mystery owner” has flown in to visit with him.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2018
Here's hoping the "mystery owner" is unmasked, Scooby Doo-style. They would've gotten away with the meeting, too, if it wasn't for those meddling reporters.
6:38 p.m. PT: Giants fans can breathe easy that Paul Goldschmidt is out of the NL West, but that almost wasn't the case. The Colorado Rockies apparently pushed to trade for Goldschmidt, according to The Athletic's Nick Groke.
Rockies are serious about upgrading at first base. They made a sincere trade offer to Arizona for Paul Goldschmidt before his trade to St. Louis, Jeff Bridich said. He was not, however, surprised by the Cardinals as Goldschmidt’s end spot.— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) December 11, 2018
The only thing scarier than Goldschmidt raking against the Giants? Him doing it at Coors Field.
6:04 p.m. PT: The Giants confirmed a trio of reported hires.
Giants officially announced their front office additions: J.P. Ricciardi as Senior Advisor to the President of Baseball Operations, Zack Minasian as Director of Pro Scouting and Michael Holmes as Director of Amateur Scouting.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) December 11, 2018
Ricciardi was the Toronto Blue Jays' general manager for eight seasons (2002-09), then worked in the New York Mets front office as a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson for the past eight seasons.
Minasian worked with the Milwaukee Brewers for the last 14 seasons, and most recently as a special advisor for scouting in the Brewers' front office. Holmes worked alongside Zaidi in the A's front office, and was most recently their assistant scouting director.
5:59 p.m. PT: Giants president of baseball operations Neal Huntington? It almost happened, according to the Pirates general manager himself.
5:06 p.m. PT: For the second straight offseason, the Marlins are probably going to trade one of their best players. Miami dropped the asking price for catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.
Hear #Marlins have slightly lowered return request on Realmuto since end of the season. Outside execs say they perceive Mia knows have to deal him but after getting not enough last year, esp for Yelich, gunshy to go quickly and undersell.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 10, 2018
The Giants reportedly checked in on the All-Star catcher earlier in the offseason, even though they have an All-Star cather of their own. With a lower asking price, will the orange and black explore the possibility again?
4:55 p.m. PT: The A’s could use some starting pitchers -- heck, they could use any starting pitchers. MassLive’s Chris Costillo dropped interesting tidbits on two bargain-bin options who might fit.
Handful of teams are showing interest in Drew Pomeranz as a bounceback candidate. Would assume a Sox reunion is unlikely but you never know.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 10, 2018
Ervin Santana is drawing widespread interest but is more likely to sign when he feels he is fully healthy later in winter. Dealt with finger troubles all season and made only 5 starts for Twins before they declined his option.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 10, 2018
The A’s, of course, know Pomeranz well, as he pitched for them in 2014 and 2015 before they traded him to the Padres in the Yonder Alonso deal. His 2018 statline of a 2-6 record with a 6.08 ERA for the Red Sox might drop the left-hander’s price this offseason.
Oakland also knows Santana well from his eight seasons pitching for the rival Angels, from 2005 to 2012, although he’s about to turn 36, had a horrible 2018 and is showing significant signs of wear.
3:30 p.m. PT: While Yankees GM Brian Cashman all but ruled out the team adding Bryce Harper, he acknowledged he has spoken with the agent for free agent third baseman Manny Machado. The Yankees don't necessarily need a third baseman with Miguel Andujar in the mix, but they could use Machado at shortstop while Didi Gregorious recovers from Tommy John surgery.
“I have had several conversations with Danny Lozano about Manny Machado” #Yankees.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 10, 2018
3:26 p.m. PT: If you're a Yankees fan hoping the team will sign Bryce Harper, we have some bad news for you. What GM Brian Cashman just told reporters in Vegas pretty much squashed any thought that there is room for the outfielder on the Yankees' roster.
Cashman responded to a question about Harper and he ticked off a list of the Yankees’ outfielders.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) December 10, 2018
Cashman pretty much ruled out Harper: “The Harper stuff, I’m surprised you are still asking.” #Yankees— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 10, 2018
If you're a Giants fan holding out hope that Harper will come to San Francisco, knowing the Yankees aren't in the mix should make you feel good.
2:38 p.m. PT: The A's still would like to bring back second baseman Jed Lowrie, but if the sides can't come to an agreement, former NL batting champ D.J. LeMahieu could be an option. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the A's have expressed interest in the former Rockies second baseman.
1:15 p.m. PT: Former A's draft pick, Bishop O'Dowd and Cal alum Tyson Ross is headed to MoTown on a one-year, $5.75 million contract, according to The Athletic.
Source: #Tigers sign free-agent RHP Tyson Ross to one-year, $5.75M contract.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 10, 2018
12:28 p.m. PT: Everyone needs their very own boomstick, and the Twins, Astros and Rays reportedly are in the mix for veteran designated hitter Nelson Cruz.
The 38-year-old spent the last four seasons with the Mariners. The A's probably would like to see Cruz pick the Twins or Rays over the Astros, to get him out of the AL West.
#MNTwins are a new team in the mix for Nelson Cruz. The Goldy trade may have helped clarify things. Astros, Rays also in. White Sox possibly.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2018
11:36 a.m. PT: Earlier, Jon Morosi reported the Dodgers are involved in trade talks for Corey Kluber. Now we know what the Indians want as the headliner of the return: Dodgers No. 1 prospect Alex Verdugo. That would be a hefty price to pay, but the Dodgers are flush with outfielders at the major league level.
Source: #Indians interested in #Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo as part of Corey Kluber trade talks. Cleveland is looking for outfield bats, and Verdugo is the Dodgers' top prospect, according to @MLBPipeline. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2018
11:33 a.m. PT: New president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has made his first 40-man roster addition, as the Giants claimed 26-year-old outfielder Mike Gerber off waivers from the Tigers.
10:46 a.m. PT: In the aftermath of the Diamondbacks letting Patrick Corbin leave and trading Paul Goldschmidt, we wrote last Thursday that the A's should inquire about left-hander Robbie Ray. But according to USA Today, Arizona is telling teams the All-Star pitcher is not available.
Several teams who checked in with the #Dbacks say that Robbie Ray is not available— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 10, 2018
10:41 a.m. PT: The Dodgers have won the NL West the last six seasons and made it to the Fall Classic the last two years. But they have yet to end their World Series drought, so could a big splash put them over the top? According to Jon Morosi, the Dodgers are involved in trade talks with the Indians regarding two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.
10:13 a.m. PT: The Tigers have a 26-year-old outfielder in Nick Castellanos who hit 49 homers over the last two seasons, and he's drawing trade interest, according to Jon Morosi. Could the Giants be interested? We're not sure, but it's an interesting name on the market.
Sources: #Tigers OF Nick Castellanos is drawing trade interest. #Braves are among the teams that have checked in. Castellanos, 26, is coming off a career offensive year and is an alternative to Brantley and Pollock via free agency. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2018
9:36 a.m. PT: Manny Machado plans to show off his hustle by going on a
Image Rehabilitation Tour Free Agent Tour! Will he stop by San Francisco or Oakland?
Manny Machado is doing the opposite of Bryce Harper and plans to visit teams in their city on his free agent tour— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 10, 2018
9:12 a.m. PT: Billy Hamilton reportedly will receive a total of $5 million in base salary and incentives from Kansas City.
KC, Billy Hamilton have agreed on base pay and are finalizing deal with performance bonuses. Expected to be close to 5M total. Royals need speed in center.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2018
8:15 a.m. PT: Will Farhan Zaidi move fan favorite Brandon Belt? According to USA Today, the first baseman is available, and several teams are interested.
Several teams have expressed interest in 1B Brandon Belt, who’s available, in talks with the #SFGiants— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 10, 2018
7:56 a.m. PT: In previous offseasons, the Giants tried to acquire speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton from the Reds, but the sides never agreed to a deal. This winter, Hamilton was non-tendered by Cincinnati.
Now, it appears Hamilton has found a new home, as he's reportedly close to a deal with the Royals.
#Royals close to agreement with OF Billy Hamilton just working through bonuses and pending physical— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) December 10, 2018
7:30 a.m. PT: We're not sure if Bryce Harper will meet with Farhan Zaidi and the Giants contingent in Vegas, but the top free agent on the market reportedly is warming up to the idea of playing for the White Sox. But is he really willing to go to a team that lost 100 games in 2018?
6:49 a.m. PT: The Arizona Diamondbacks finished third in the NL West, nine games ahead of the Giants, last season. That likely won't be the case in 2019. Patrick Corbin left in free agency. Paul Goldschmidt has been traded. And now, it appears the team is trying to trade ace Zack Greinke.
But that will be difficult because Greinke has a 15-team no-trade clause, and has put most big market teams on it, according to Jon Heyman.
Greinke’s 15-team no-trade list is seen as major impediment to deal. Greinke smartly included Phils, cards, dodgers - almost any big-market team. 2 teams that have shown interest in past not on are HOU and WASH, tho nats already got Corbin. Hou talked ZG last year. @ZHBuchanan— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2018