Cincinnati Reds

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner has interest from seven teams

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner has interest from seven teams

Madison Bumgarner debuted for the Giants on Sept. 8, 2009. He has known one team his entire career, and the 30-year-old is revered as a franchise hero. 

The big question now is, will he find a new home this offseason in free agency or return to San Francisco? President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made it clear on Monday during Winter Meetings Live that the Giants still are in the Bumgarner market

"We're involved in those discussions," Zaidi said. "We're planning to meet with his representatives this week and they have other meetings scheduled, too. That's what happens when a player is a free agent, they're going to explore all their options. Guys are looking for different things, looking for maybe a particular geography, maybe a team in a specific part of their competitive cycle.

"We're one of the suitors. We're just going to put our best foot forward and see what happens, but he's earned this opportunity to be a free agent and, as we expected, there's no shortage of interest in a guy with his pedigree."

Zaidi knows the Giants will have competition when it comes to re-signing Bumgarner, and it appears his market is growing. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Monday night that outside of the Giants, there are seven teams linked to MadBum: The Braves, Cardinals, Reds, D'backs, Angels, Twins and Yankees. 

There aren't too many surprises in that group, but the D'backs seem to be the new team in the mix. The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly stated the location could make sense as Bumgarner has horses in Phoenix, and Heyman says Arizona already has made a light offer to the left-hander. 

[RELATED: Report: Giants seen as top bidder for slugger Castellanos]

Bumgarner's asking price could be on the rise, and it will be interesting to see what kind of deals teams send his way. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Monday that teams are being told Bumgarner is looking for a deal worth at least $100 million over five years. That seems increasingly likely with Zack Wheeler joining the Phillies on a $118 million contract. 

Multiple teams reportedly are in on the former World Series hero. The Giants might get the last call, but there's a chance Bumgarner is off the board by the time the Winter Meetings end Thursday.

MLB rumors: Giants to hire Reds' Donnie Ecker as new hitting coach

MLB rumors: Giants to hire Reds' Donnie Ecker as new hitting coach

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are hoping to see a youth movement in their lineup over the next couple of seasons. They're apparently going with the same approach on their coaching staff. 

Cincinnati Reds assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker will be named the Giants' hitting coach, according to Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. The Giants did not immediately confirm the hire. They are expected to announce their staff next week at the Winter Meetings. Ecker, 33, is just five years removed from being the baseball coach at Los Altos High, his alma mater. 

The Giants have spent the last month putting Gabe Kapler's staff in place, and they have not looked in traditional corners. They have worked to surround Kapler with coaches who take a more modern approach and can help develop the next Giants contender, and Ecker certainly qualifies as an interesting hire. 

Ecker spent just one season as assistant hitting coach in Cincinnati. In 2018 he was the Triple-A hitting coach for the Angels, and before that, he coached in the minors for the Cardinals for three seasons. Ecker's coaching career began in 2013 when he took a job at Los Altos High, where he was a two-sport star in baseball and football. Ecker was a 22nd-round pick of the Rangers in 2007 but got just 97 minor league at-bats. 

Ecker certainly is a bit of an out-of-the-box hire, but that might be just what the Giants need after years of struggling to put together a lineup that can hit at Oracle Park. Ecker's bio with the Reds stated that "his teaching methods incorporate human movement research and technology-based applications to the body and swing." He is described as someone who is an "integrated movement specialist."

[RELATED: Where Giants' core players stand as Winter Meetings near]

Once confirmed, Ecker will join third base coach Ron Wotus as members of Kapler's staff. The Giants also have hired Brian Bannister as Director of Pitching but it's unclear if that role will have him in the dugout. 

How wild title run cemented 2012 Giants legacy in Bruce Bochy's eyes

How wild title run cemented 2012 Giants legacy in Bruce Bochy's eyes

When retiring Giants manager Bruce Bochy looks back on his career, his second World Series title still is hard to wrap his head around. 

The Giants faced elimination six times in the 2012 playoffs, falling into a two-games-to-none hole in the NLDS and a three-games-to-one deficit in the NLCS. San Francisco needed to win on the road in five of those six games. 

Bochy's club did just that, and he thinks it was more than enough to cement their legacy. 

"[2012] still blows me away," Bochy told Amy Gutierrez in an interview that will air in an hourlong "Toast to Boch" on NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday night. "It really should make this team one of the greatest postseason teams of all time." 

The Giants won three straight games at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati after falling behind two-games-to-none to the Reds in the NLDS, and then won two more at Busch Stadium in St. Louis while facing a three-games-to-none series deficit in the NLCS against the Cardinals. San Francisco hung by a thread early in Game 5 of the NLCS when oft-criticized lefty Barry Zito took the mound. 

What Zito did next left Bochy with a lasting memory. 

"But the Barry Zito game, that's probably what stands out with me more than anything," Bochy said. "... [Bases] loaded the first inning and nobody out. I've got the bullpen, double-barrel going down there. Next thing you know, he's in the seventh or eighth inning, shut 'em out. We won, and the momentum had just changed.

"What we did that year -- it still is mind-boggling. Those things don't happen, especially on the road how we had to do it."

[RELATED: Davis heeds Mays' advice, snaps out of slump with home run] 

Bochy and the Giants had a much easier time in the World Series itself. San Francisco won Game 1 against the Detroit Tigers behind another strong start from Zito, and the Giants would not trail until Game 4 of their eventual sweep to clinch their second championship in three seasons. The road that got them there, however, is what Bochy will remember. 

"Toast to Boch" airs Saturday, Sept. 28 on NBC Sports Bay Area at 5 p.m., following the conclusion of "Giants Postgame Live."