Giants

Farhan Zaidi addresses Gabe Kapler controversy after hiring as Giants manager

Farhan Zaidi addresses Gabe Kapler controversy after hiring as Giants manager

SAN FRANCISCO -- In his first year as the Giants' president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi tried to learn everything he could about his new front office, his big league roster, and the layers of minor leaguers who will try and form a better future. He also spent plenty of time with his finger on the pulse of the fan base.

Zaidi was well aware of what the public perception would be Tuesday night when the Giants announced Gabe Kapler as their new manager, and he addressed two issues right off the bat on a conference call with reporters.

In his introductory remarks, before he took questions, Zaidi spoke of Kapler's time in Philadelphia and also the mishandling of assault allegations against Dodgers minor leaguers when Kapler was their director of player development.

The latter issue has been the most concerning to fans, and members of the Giants organization had their doubts, too. Over the last week, the Giants spoke to experts from outside the organization to get a better handle on the issue, and it was being discussed internally as late as Monday night.

"Obviously there's been stuff written over the last couple of weeks over the incident in Los Angeles," Zaidi said. "To be honest, it's given me a chance to reflect on those incidents and how we handled them as [a Dodgers] organization. We've had the opportunity to talk to people in the community and talk to experts to try and learn and understand what we did and what we did wrong.

"As I've had time to reflect on it, I've realized the biggest mistake we made was asking the wrong questions. In those situations, we asked, 'What do we have to do?' instead of, 'What is the right thing to do?' I can only speak for myself -- I'm truly sorry that from my perspective I didn't ask the right questions and address things appropriately. I view it as a learning experience, and it's something I want to take into the future in the organization and hold us to that highest standard."

Zaidi also spoke about Kapler's tenure in Philadelphia, where he went 161-163 in two seasons and was fired last month. He said he spoke to Phillies players and members of the front office, and noted that he got unsolicited texts and phone calls from people who had worked with Kapler in Philadelphia.

"Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive," Zaidi said.

Zaidi and the Giants officially will introduce Kapler on Wednesday at Oracle Park, and the new manager will have time to give his own explanations. Zaidi, in explaining his decision, repeatedly said Tuesday night that Kapler was the right choice for the job and someone Giants fans would be excited about in the dugout.

"I'm really optimistic that as they get to know him, they'll get to know the person that I got to know in L.A., and feel is just a really high-caliber person and is going to do an outstanding job for us," Zaidi said.

More on Kapler from NBC Sports Philadelphia

Leadership issues led to Kapler's firing by Phillies 
Kapler's reactions on final day of Phillies season
Bryce Harper's thoughts on Kapler's future
Kapler, Velasquez have miscommunication

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.