SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants used an NL record 64 players in 2019. The roster churn ahead of the 2020 season started before the World Series could even finish.
The Giants on Wednesday claimed left-handed starter Tyler Anderson off waivers from the Colorado Rockies. To clear a roster spot, right-handed reliever Kyle Barraclough was designated for assignment.
Anderson, 29, had knee surgery on June 11 and missed most of the 2019 season. He made five starts before going down, allowing 27 runs in 20 2/3 innings. Anderson was a fixture in Colorado's rotation a year ago, posting a 4.55 ERA in 32 starts. He led the league in home runs allowed, but had a 1.27 WHIP and averaged 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
Anderson has spent his entire career with the Rockies but actually has splits that are harsher away from Coors Field. He has a 4.23 career ERA at home but a 5.31 ERA on the road.
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The Giants figure to add plenty of starting options this offseason. They have a young rotation and Madison Bumgarner will be a free agent for the first time.
Barraclough, a Bay Area native, was picked up by the Giants during the season and made 10 appearances down the stretch. He had a 2.25 ERA but walked nine batters in eight innings.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.