Giants

Drew Pomeranz's reported Padres contract shows why he joined Giants

Drew Pomeranz's reported Padres contract shows why he joined Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- For years, the Giants have tried to use Oracle Park as a selling point for free agent pitchers, and Farhan Zaidi talked about embracing that strategy when he was hired last fall. So it stood out when Zaidi signed Pomeranz a couple months later and said during an introductory conference call that Pomeranz and his agents were the ones who pushed for the deal to be just one year. 

“It was important to get a one-year deal and reposition himself in free agency,” Zaidi said in January. “We’re certainly hoping we can give him that kind of platform to have him have a really strong year and re-enter the market or stay in San Francisco, if it works for both sides.”

Pomeranz did end up cashing in as a free agent, but not quite in the way either side expected when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal in late January to join the Giants' rotation. Pomeranz agreed to a four-year deal with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday that will guarantee him $34 million, per Robert Murray of The Athletic

He got that big deal not because the Giants plopped him down in Oracle Park, but because they moved him to the bullpen. As a starter, Pomeranz was a DFA candidate with a 6.10 ERA. But the Giants moved him to the bullpen on July 22 and Pomeranz showed enough in four scoreless appearances that Zaidi was able to flip him to the Brewers for Mauricio Dubon, who should be his starting second baseman next year. 

Pomeranz struck out eight batters in 5 1/3 relief innings before the trade and then whiffed 45 in 26 1/3 innings for the Brewers. The big difference was velocity. Pomeranz was sitting 91-92 and maxing out at 94 as a starter most nights. In shorter stints, he regularly hit 96-97.

The velocity and strikeout rate set Pomeranz up as one of the better relievers on the market, and the Padres jumped on their former starter, hoping he can be part of a lockdown bullpen for a team that expects to contend and has been plenty busy this week. 

[RELATED: Why Beede viewed his rookie season as so promising]

It was a wild ride for Pomeranz, but in the end, he got that big deal that he was hoping for all along -- and the Giants got plenty out of the transaction, too. Dubon was a hell of a return for a few promising relief outings from Pomeranz, and that experience should bolster their belief that they should take a few more shots on pitching lottery tickets this offseason. 

MLB rumors: Cardinals 'entering the fray' to pursue Madison Bumgarner

MLB rumors: Cardinals 'entering the fray' to pursue Madison Bumgarner

With the Winter Meetings rapidly approaching, MLB free agency is heating up.

One of the top available pitchers -- Madison Bumgarner -- is expected to be in high demand, particularly now that Cole Hamels has signed with the Braves and Zack Wheeler reportedly has agreed to a five-year contract with the Phillies. For teams who scoff at Gerrit Cole's price tag, Bumgarner might be the logical compromise.

The Giants have been "in communication" with Bumgarner, but rumor has it another interested team has entered the mix.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Bumgarner, citing a source.

St. Louis already has brought back veteran Adam Wainwright on a one-year deal, and after he, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson, there appears to be an opening for Bumgarner in the starting rotation. Signing with the Cardinals would not only allow Bumgarner to continue pitching in the National League, but would also allow him to continue taking his own at-bats, which we know he loves so much. He also has been linked to teams such as the Twins and White Sox, but would forfeit his at-bats to a DH in each of those situations.

[RELATED: How Wheeler's reported $118M contract could affect MadBum]

While Bumgarner is expected to receive a contract in excess of $100 million, Feinsand suggests Wheeler's reported $118 million payday might serve to increase the total.

MLB rumors: Yankees make signing free agent Gerrit Cole top priority

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MLB rumors: Yankees make signing free agent Gerrit Cole top priority

Gerrit Cole is far and away the gem of the 2019 MLB free-agent class.

The former Pirates and Astros ace led the American League in both ERA and strikeouts last season and finished just behind teammate Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young Award race.

The team that historically always has had the deepest pockets in baseball -- the New York Yankees -- have made Cole a priority in free agency, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Thursday, citing a source.

Cole is a Southern California native with familial ties to the Giants, a team that also features one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the MLB. San Francisco also has been mentioned as a destination for the ace, who reportedly desires a return to the West Coast.

But if the Yankees, who always have jumped to outbid every other team for talent in free agency, decide to back up the proverbial Brinks truck for the 29-year-old, the Giants might be swiftly eliminated from contention for Cole.

Reports indicate that Cole’s price tag will “shatter” the record set by David Price when he signed a $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2015.

[RELATED: Report: Giants targeted UGA's pitching coach for same role]

While San Francisco has plenty of money to spend this offseason, it likely won’t engage in a bidding war that could approach $300 million.

Even if longtime Giant and current free agent Madison Bumgarner elects to go elsewhere in free agency, it remains to be seen how much money San Francisco would be willing to shell out for an elite talent like Cole in the heart of his prime.