Giants

Giants manager Gabe Kapler hasn't spoken with free agent Madison Bumgarner

Giants manager Gabe Kapler hasn't spoken with free agent Madison Bumgarner

Giants manager Gabe Kapler has dealt with a lot during his first few weeks in office, from constantly addressing and explaining a controversy stemming from his time with the Dodgers to navigating being the replacement for a three-time World Series champion in Bruce Bochy.

But as the MLB offseason and free agency have opened up, Kapler and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have a lot of choices to make on which players to re-sign and which new players to bring in.

One player that Kapler hasn’t spoken to is former All-Star pitcher and current free agent Madison Bumgarner.

“I have not talked to MadBum yet,” Kapler said Thursday on 95.7 The Game. “And I’m very interested to see how that all plays out.” 

“I know that he’s out there exploring and I completely understand his perspective on that.”

Bumgarner reportedly has drawn interest from numerous teams in free agency, and for good reason.

After back-to-back seasons marred by injury and inconsistency, Bumgarner improved in 2019, leading the NL in games started with 34, and struck out over 200 batters.

When asked if he expects to have MadBum as his opening day starter, Kapler deflected and explained that there are a lot more decisions to be made before that day rolls around.

[RELATED: Zaidi hints at how Giants will handle Pillar contract decision]

“I’m pretty, I’m pretty focused — before we get to the roster, I know that Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris, our president of baseball ops and GM, are both making very difficult decisions right now.

“They’re deciding what our roster is going to look like. Obviously, that’s a very collaborative process. We’re having conversations every day, but right now we’re focused on building a really good coaching staff. And, I believe, I trust that our roster will be strong at the end of the day.”

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.