Giants

Giants top prospect Joey Bart named to Arizona Fall League All-Star Game

Giants top prospect Joey Bart named to Arizona Fall League All-Star Game

While the Giants hope a healthy offseason can get Buster Posey back on track for 2020, the honors keep coming for Giants' top prospect Joey Bart.

The 22-year-old catcher has been opening eyes in the Arizona Fall League. Bart opened the Fall League as the Player of the Week and then went on to win the Championship Chains Hitter of the Week. Now, he's an All-Star down in the desert. 

Bart was named Tuesday to the East Division for the Fall Stars Game, a collection of the best players in the AFL. The game will be played on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. PT. 

Bart, ranked as MLB.com's No. 19 prospect overall, is the lone Giants prospect playing the All-Star Game. Fellow top prospect Heliot Ramos is off to a slow start, batting just .171 with one homer in 10 games. 

But Bart has been on a tear for the Scottsdale Scorpions. He's hitting .345 with four homers, 10 RBI and an eye-popping 1.306 OPS. 

[RELATED: Bart’s insane AFL stats could speed up his Giants future]

The former No. 2 overall pick from a year ago has been showing off big-league power and an improved ability to turn on the ball. The Giants couldn't be happier with his development, and it's reasonable to project the young catcher will join Posey in the big leagues early next season. 

For once, Bart isn't delayed in the Bay Area. In this case, it's actually ahead of schedule.

MLB free agency: What Madison Bumgarner's market looks like early on

MLB free agency: What Madison Bumgarner's market looks like early on

SAN FRANCISCO -- The free-agent market has moved faster than it did a year ago, with Will Smith signing in Atlanta right before the qualifying offer deadline and Yasmani Grandal getting a four-year deal from the White Sox this week. But all has been quiet thus far for the biggest names in the starting pitching market, including Madison Bumgarner. 

The longtime Giants ace turned down the qualifying offer as expected and has been the subject of a few rumors, but nothing substantial enough to indicate a deal is close. During an interview on the "TK Show" this week, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said he thinks the process will drag out a bit. 

"We've at least expressed interest and I think they're going to take their time with this process and obviously Madison has earned the right to free agency and to explore all his options," Zaidi told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. "I think they're going to be pretty methodical with it and we respect that, but we'll maintain contact."

Others have been in contact, particularly during the GM Meetings last week. Here's how Bumgarner's market is shaping up through the first three weeks of his first foray into free agency:

Giants

Gabe Kapler said earlier this week that he hasn't spoken to Bumgarner yet, but that's not a big deal. Even when he was employed by the Giants, teammates and friends joked about how hard it was to reach Bumgarner in the offseason.

Bumgarner was curious to see who Bruce Bochy's replacement would be, and it's easy to say the fit with Kapler would be less than ideal. They are on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to a lot of how they think about the game, but ultimately Bumgarner just wants to win, so the evaluation process would simply be about how quickly he thinks Kapler could get him back to the postseason.

As I've written a few times already, most people within the building feel that Bumgarner will be playing elsewhere next season. But there's always that chance his market dries up and Bumgarner's best option is to come back to San Francisco. 

Braves

The connection was there even before Smith signed with the Braves. When he was introduced to the media in Atlanta, Smith was asked about reuniting with Bumgarner.

"I don't know, maybe. We'll see," he told reporters. "That'd be great, especially with the kind of talent he is. But we'll see what they've got."

The Braves had interest in Bumgarner before the deadline, sources have told NBC Sports Bay Area, and they planned to make a push for him in free agency. That's basically the same way they felt about Smith, and they got that done. The Braves remain the cleanest fit if Bumgarner is not wearing orange and black. 

Yankees

Speaking of clean fits, this team isn't it. But, the Yankees have shown some interest. 

"I will definitely talk to Bumgarner's agency," Yankees GM Brian Cashman told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. 

The Yankees could use another starter for the postseason and they're relatively close to Bumgarner's offseason home in North Carolina. But, playing in the American League would take the bat out of Bumgarner's hands, which figures to be a bigger deal to him than any other pitcher. 

Phillies

The best case for Bumgarner and his representatives? That would be getting two NL East rivals -- who just watched the Nationals win a World Series -- involved in a bidding war. 

The Phillies had interest in Bumgarner in the past and they are at it once again, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. 

[RELATED: Time for Giants to kick tires on Rendon?]

Padres

A dark horse, and they're truly fascinating. The Padres looked like an ideal trade deadline destination before their hot start wore off, and Bumgarner did his due diligence about their organization when it appeared he might end up there. 

The Padres offer a division he knows, a rotation that needs a workhorse ahead of Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet and all the young starters they have coming through the minors, a ballpark that's often filled with Giants fans and an intriguing roster that should be in the postseason race. 

They were connected to Stephen Strasburg earlier in the offseason but Bumgarner would come cheaper, and they have interest: 

The fit is there. Plus, Bumgarner might be reunited with Bochy in a year.

(Kidding! Sort of.)

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.”