Giants

Evan Longoria reaches RBI milestone, leads Giants to sweep of A's

Evan Longoria reaches RBI milestone, leads Giants to sweep of A's

OAKLAND -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting dugout Sunday morning and spent a few minutes reminiscing about some of what he has seen and learned while managing 4,000 games in the big leagues

Bochy, in his 25th season, is a picture of longevity. His roster is dotted with players who are #ForeverGiants. Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt all started Sunday against the A's, and none of them have ever known another uniform. Ditto for Madison Bumgarner, who took the ball Saturday. It's possible one or two of those guys may never play for a team other than the Giants. 

Because of all that, it's easy to forget sometimes just how long Evan Longoria has been doing this, and just how good he has been in his career. Longoria spent 10 years all the way across the country in Tampa Bay, making three All-Star teams and piling up down-ballot MVP votes. 

He's been a good big leaguer for a long time, and on Sunday, while reaching a milestone, he provided a reminder that he's still pretty damn dangerous with a bat in his hands. Longoria homered and later turned a deficit into a one-run lead with a two-run single, leading the Giants past the A's, 5-4

“Not too many people on this coast know how good a player Evan Longoria is,” said Stephen Vogt, his former Rays teammate and a longtime opponent. “We know how good he is.”

Longoria got to 1,000 RBI with a solo homer off Brett Anderson, his 17th of the season. He came up in the seventh with the bases loaded, one out and the A’s leading 4-3. Right-hander Blake Treinen had just won an 11-pitch battle with Buster Posey and Longoria jumped on the first pitch, smashing an elevated fastball to left to drive in a pair. 

"I figured he would try to get ahead," Longoria said. "I was staring at the six-hole (at shortstop), just telling myself not to get around (the ball). See it up. It's nice when you tell yourself something and it works out."

That was the case with the milestone, too. Longoria said he has spoken to Derin McMains, the team's mental skills coach, about setting goals. One of them this season was reaching 1,000 RBI. Longoria became the 291st player to drive in 1,000 runs in the big leagues and joined just 10 other active hitters. He should move up the active list pretty quickly. Longoria needs just one more RBI to catch Ryan Zimmerman, eight to catch Matt Kemp and 10 to catch Brian McCann. 

"I've been thinking about it for a while," Longoria said. "I'm just trying to go out and reach goals. You kind of incentivize yourself to go out. We're going out to play for the team and win, but it's kind of personally challenging yourself. It's a proud moment. It's not something I ever thought I would do."

The win clinched a quick two-game sweep of the A’s and put The Bridge trophy in the Giants clubhouse for the first time. They’re back to .500 with 32 games to play and still faintly alive in the wild-card race. 

[RELATED: Giants win The Bridge trophy with 5-4 victory over A's]

It would take a ridiculous finish to get there, but the players haven’t given in yet. They still believe they can get hot, and as Vogt said, few can get on a streak like Longoria can. He briefly carried the Giants in July and now looks set to try and do it again.

“He’s doing things he’s done his whole career,” Bochy said. “You look at what he’s been doing, and he had the setback with the injury, and he came back and he’s right on track. He kind of got lost in the shuffle here in these two games, but both games, we don’t win without him.” 

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.