Giants interested in free agent righty Calero

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Giants interested in free agent righty Calero

By Mychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com
Now that the Mark DeRosa deal is done, the Giants likely are going to ramp up their efforts in getting Juan Uribe's return finalized. Assuming that gets done, they're essentially -- as I noted last week -- back to square one offensively. And given their self-imposed payroll limitations and Tim Lincecum's looming largesse, it doesn't look good for fans hoping to see the team make a big free-agent splash. Here's an idea, though: Instead of looking for an offensive cannonball like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday or Adrian Beltre, why not look into something more artful, more subtle? Instead of obsessing over shoring up weaknesses, what about building on strengths?It's a notion that struck me as sound after hearing from a low-level source while I was working to get the DeRosa details confirmed yesterday. I was told that the Giants could be in on Kiko Calero, a right-handed reliever who posted a 1.95 ERA in 67 games with the Marlins last season. Running with info from a low-level source is not something I'm quick to do, so I didn't. But I've since heard from higher powers that the Giants have, in fact, discussed going after Calero, who could slide quite easily into the righty setup role in which since-dispatched Bobby Howry failed so miserably last season.You might remember Calero. He pitched for the A's from 2005-2008. Nasty slider. Throws a ton of them. Was a stud the year Oakland went to the ALCS (2006). Starting in 2007, though, he fell victim to the injury curse that's plagued the A's for years. Hurt his elbow. Missed a ton of time. Hurt his shoulder. Missed all but five games in 2008. Got the boot. Some pretty smart people thought he was done. Baseball, of course, has a way of making pretty smart people look pretty dumb -- present company absolutely included.Calero, 34, proved everyone wrong, signing a one-year deal with the Marlins and going OFF. Struck out 69 with 30 walks over 60 innings. Posted a 1.10 WHIP. All for 500,000.He'll get more than that as a free agent, but not a ton more. And good luck finding a better fit for the Giants' bullpen.
Throw Calero into an already potent mix that includes Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt bridging the gap from the starters to Brian Wilson, and you've shortened the game to six innings. That would be a tremendous help in the event that Madison Bumgarner or a rent-a-vet ends up the No. 5 starter, no?Yes. Kiko Calero is indeed a perfect fit in San Francisco, where pitching is -- and always should be -- the priority. You heard it here first. Stay tuned.

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s are excited about 2016 top pick A.J. Puk, that much was apparent by the crowd the lefty attracted for his first “live” bullpen session Tuesday.

Among those watching closely were executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, general manager David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young.

Puk, who shaved about 20 pounds off his 6-foot-7 frame over the winter, looked strong against a group of hitters that included touted infield prospects Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz.

Melvin in particular liked the way Puk, the No. 6 overall pick out of the University of Florida, worked his curve ball into the mix. That’s a pitch he hadn’t used since high school, but he dusted it off back in the fall instructional league with some encouragement from minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, and he’s working to sharpen it this spring as a complement to his fastball, slider and changeup.

“It’s just nice to have another pitch that’s slower than my other three pitches,” Puk said before Tuesday’s workout.

“It’s a four-pitch mix,” Melvin said. “He’s really starting to distinguish between this slider and curve ball. It was quite a crowd around his cage too. When you’re a young kid you tend to notice that, but I thought he responded really well.”

Puk, 21, is rooming with shortstop Richie Martin, a teammate at Florida whom the A’s made their top pick in 2015. They also lived near each other in Tampa this offseason and worked out together.

Puk comes off very quiet upon meeting him, but Martin warns against being fooled.

“It takes him a while, but once he feels comfortable he’ll break out. You’ll see.”

Melvin was impressed with Puk’s physical shape, saying he’s fielded his position well in pitchers’ fielding drills.

CAMP BATTLE Jesse Hahn will start the A’s Cactus League opener Saturday against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. It’ll be a chance for Hahn to make an early impression in his bid for the fifth starter spot.

“After the year he had (in 2016), it’s important for him this year. We have to show some faith in him,” Melvin said. “He performed well for us the year before. Last year wasn’t really consistent. We’ll try to get him out there and get him off to a good start.”

Kendall Graveman will take the ball in Sunday’s spring home opener against the Angels. Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea both will pitch Monday against the Giants and Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs will be among the group throwing Tuesday against the Indians.

PROSPECT WATCH: Sean Murphy, the A’s third-round pick in June, has shown a very strong throwing arm early in camp. Is it any wonder Melvin, an ex-catcher, was impressed?

“The kid can throw, it’s special,” Melvin said. “We really like him.”

NOTEWORTHY: Still no word on when reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive at camp from the Dominican Republic. Melvin said he isn’t concerned at this stage, and noted that Casilla has been working out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic and gave a motivational talk to the younger players there.

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the All-Star big man to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. 
#LoyaltyisLove #sactownkingforever

Cousins, 26, averaged 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 34.4 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on