Giants

Giants protect five from Rule 5, add to 40-man roster

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Giants protect five from Rule 5, add to 40-man roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants added right-handers Chase Johnson, Reyes Moronta and Dan Slania to their 40-man roster on Friday, along with infielder/outfielder Orlando Calixte and infielder Miguel Gomez. The moves protected the players from the Rule 5 Draft that will be held at the Winter Meetings next month. 

Johnson, 24, was a third-round pick out of Cal Poly in 2013. He made 24 appearances for Double-A Richmond and was converted from starting to relieving. In 17 appearances out of the bullpen, Johnson had a 2.30 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning.

The 23-year-old Moronta has piled up big strikeout numbers throughout his five seasons in the system. Moronta has 263 strikeouts in 208 2/3 minor league innings and he whiffed 93 in 60 relief appearances for the San Jose Giants last year. 

At 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, Slania is an imposing presence who flourished after moving to the rotation. He pitched at three levels last season and opened eyes with a 1.48 ERA in 10 starts for Double-A Richmond. The 24-year-old allowed two runs and struck out 14 in two Triple-A starts.

Calixte signed as a minor league free agent earlier this month. The 24-year-old played in Double-A and Triple-A for the Royals last season, hitting .274 with 11 homers and 19 stolen bases. He played in two big league games in 2015. Calixte has played second, short and third in the minors along with all three outfield spots.

Gomez hit .330 in A-ball last year with 17 homers and 26 doubles, playing first, second and third. He turns 24 next month.

The 2016 class was smaller than the 2015 one. Last November, the Giants added eight pitchers to their 40-man roster, including three -- Ty Blach, Steven Okert and Chris Stratton -- who pitched for the big league club during the 2016 season. Two others, Adalberto Mejia and Jake Smith, broke in elsewhere. Mejia was dealt to the Twins in the Eduardo Nuñez trade and Smith made it up to the big leagues with the Padres after getting designated for assignment by the Giants.

Clayton Blackburn, Kyle Crick and Ian Gardeck were the other players added last season. Blackburn was briefly called up to the Majors but he didn't pitch in a game. Crick spent the entire season at Double-A and Gardeck had Tommy John surgery.

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.