Giants

Giants owe it to Madison Bumgarner to trade him, Tim Flannery says

Giants owe it to Madison Bumgarner to trade him, Tim Flannery says

For the first three months of the MLB season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Giants would trade franchise legend Madison Bumgarner before the July 31 MLB trade deadline.

But after winning 12 of their last 14 games, the Giants all of the sudden stand just 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot, and the chatter of whether they should actually deal Bumgarner has increased exponentially.

Should they trade him anyway despite the recent hot streak? Or should they hold on to their ace and hope he can lead them to another magical October?

NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Tim Flannery, who coached Bumgarner on Bruce Bochy's staff through 2014, believes that if the Giants don’t sign their ace to a market-value contract extension right now, they have to trade him.

“If you’re going to keep him, you have to re-sign him to market value with an extension now,” Flannery told NBC Sports Bay Area. “You can’t keep him and not sign him. Free agency, as we have seen, is not working with the compensation draft pick connected to a team signing him.”

Indeed, free agency was not kind to pitchers last offseason. Both Dallas Keuchel (Atlanta Braves) and Craig Kimbrel (Chicago Cubs) had to wait until June to sign with their current clubs because of the draft pick compensation rule. Essentially, signing a marquee free agent -- like Bumgarner will be this offseason -- would cost the signing team a draft pick in the 2020 MLB draft. 

So for Bumgarner, his market could be tepid this offseason if the Giants hold on to him. But if they trade him this summer, by rule, the draft pick compensation is nullified.

“They owe it to Bumgarner to trade him,” Flannery said, noting how staying put in San Francisco without a new deal could hurt Bumgarner’s earning potential this offseason.

“Bum signed a very team-friendly contract a few years ago. He helped win three world championships and made lots of money for this organization. Now he needs to be treated with class and respect. You either sign him to an extension or trade him so he can get paid and you can get something for him.”

This trade wouldn’t just be the Giants doing charity. Dealing Bumgarner at the deadline instantly would replenish the Giants' farm system and give San Francisco something in return for its ace rather than losing him for nothing in the offseason (other than the aforementioned draft pick compensation). 

Although the Giants are surging right now and there’s optimism for ending Bochy’s last season on a high note, this current group still is not a World Series contender. Holding out hope for the pipe dream of Bumgarner putting the team on his shoulders again simply is not worth it.

[RELATED: What Giants draft pick Bishop learned from Bonds]

The Giants need to trade Bumgarner. It’s in Bumgarner’s best financial interest to get traded by the Giants. Barring an in-season extension, this is the only outcome that makes sense for both sides.

Bumgarner forever will be a legend at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. But as Flannery says, it’s in the best interest for all if he dons another uniform come Aug. 1.

What are Giants' biggest needs as they dive into free agent market?

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

What are Giants' biggest needs as they dive into free agent market?

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler spent nearly an hour discussing the more controversial aspects of the managerial hire, new general manager Scott Harris sat to Kapler's left and took it all in. Other than his own introductory remarks, Harris was mostly silent, but Zaidi smiled and looked at his GM when a reporter asked Zaidi how he planned to "attack free agency."

"Scott?" Zaidi said, laughing. 

Harris took the question, but he didn't give up much more than Zaidi would have. 

"We're excited to have the three of us in place and to start having those conversations that are full of debate, that are full of challenging each other," Harris said, "To make sure that we're targeting the right players and Gabe feels comfortable deploying those players in the right way to allow them to succeed."

More than anything, Kapler simply needs better players. Zaidi and Harris jumped right in to that process, flying to Scottsdale after the Kapler press conference despite the fact that they had already missed most of the first three days of the four-day GM Meetings. Zaidi and Harris have spent plenty of time over the last month discussing their future plans, but they planned to set up meetings in Scottsdale to start zeroing in on specific free agent targets. 

Who are those players? We know one who is off the list. Closer Will Smith signed with the Braves before Kapler could even move into his office, leaving a big hole in the bullpen. That's where we'll start in this early look at what the Giants need in free agency:

Bullpen

The closer right now is ... maybe Tony Watson? Maybe Shaun Anderson? Tyler Rogers and Sam Coonrod showed flashes as rookies, Trevor Gott is healing well, and guys like Jandel Gustave, Sam Selman and Andrew Suarez should be part of the mix. But that's not a good bullpen on paper. 

The Giants will need to add, although as we saw last year, they're more likely to do so with minor additions and trades -- like the Gott move. Don't expect them to spend big on what's left of the relief market. One of the best arms still out there, Drew Pomeranz, is already familiar to them. They're more likely to find the next reclamation project than sign a player looking for big money. 

Backup catcher

Stephen Vogt is wildly popular and had a very nice year as Buster Posey's partner, but he has talked of trying to win a World Series. He is smart enough to know San Francisco is not the place to do that in 2020. 

Vogt liked San Francisco and may return, but if he signs with a contender, the Giants will need a bridge to Joey Bart. Aramis Garcia is an option, but if Zaidi wanted to go with Erik Kratz last opening day over Garcia, it seems likely another veteran is brought in a year later. 

Lefty infielder

The Giants used more platoons last season and could use a left-handed hitter to take some at-bats away from Evan Longoria and Mauricio Dubon. Longoria had a .722 OPS against righties last season and Dubon is still unproven. Pablo Sandoval did some heavy lifting at third base last season, but he'll miss most of 2020 after Tommy John having surgery and is a free agent. The other backup infield option, Donovan Solano, also hits from the right side. 

Kean Wong, claimed off waivers earlier this month, hits left-handed, but he has just 18 big league at-bats. 

Righty outfielder

Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson (if he can stay healthy) should go into next season looking at meaty roles, but the Giants don't have much from the right side other than Kevin Pillar. Austin Slater's numbers took a nosedive in the second half and Jaylin Davis struggled in a September cameo. Joey Rickard is a candidate to be non-tendered. 

The Giants need outfield help in general, but they're especially lacking in right-handed pop. Zaidi tried plenty of fringe options in 2019. He has the financial wiggle room to take some bigger swings this offseason if he wants to. 

The Bumgarner situation

If it feels like we've hit on all corners of the roster here, it's because, well, yeah, the roster has a lot of holes. 

The biggest one is now at the top of the rotation, where the Giants very well may be looking for a way to replace their longtime ace. Bringing Bumgarner back would actually pretty much set the rotation. The Giants could feel pretty comfortable going into next spring with Bumgarner, a healthy Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Tyler Beede and Logan Webb, followed by the group of Suarez, Dereck Rodriguez, Tyler Anderson and any depth options Zaidi is able to scoop up. 

But pull Bumgarner out of that group and you have a big hole, especially because Beede is still mostly unproven and Webb will have an innings limit. Internally, Zaidi and Harris have likely already decided how hard they'll go after Bumgarner. If they're not intent on bringing him back, they'll need rotation help. 

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Gabe Kapler had his introductory press conference as the Giants' new manager, and he's chosen his uniform number as well.

The skipper has chosen No. 19 to sport this season, which means young infielder Mauricio Dubon will have to choose a new number -- and he needs your help.

He recently took to Twitter and asked what number he should wear now that he has to make the switch: 

No. 21 appeared to stand out from a Milwaukee Brewer's fan account, since Honduras became a country in 1821. Dubon was born in Honduras in 1994 (sorry to make you guys feel old).

[RELATED: Dubon gets engaged at Disneyland Paris]

Five-time All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent also sported the number with San Francisco.

We shall see ...