Giants

Giants' Tyler Beede continues to open eyes during an impressive spring

Giants' Tyler Beede continues to open eyes during an impressive spring

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A few seconds after the final pitch Thursday night, Tyler Beede emerged from the dugout, walked over behind the plate, and looked out into the seats at Scottsdale Stadium in search of someone specific. That was a change of pace. For most of the spring, all eyes have been on Beede. 

The 25-year-old right-hander was the talk of camp even before games started, lighting it up on back fields during live batting practice sessions. Beede carried that momentum into his first two appearances, and on Thursday a television audience back home got to see why the Giants are so excited about the former first-rounder's resurgence. 

Beede sat at 97 mph with his fastball while striking out three in three hitless innings against the A's. In three appearances this spring, he has given up just two hits in seven innings, with one run allowed, two walks and eight strikeouts. 

"He's just had a terrific spring," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It looks like he's on a mission to show he's put a lot of hard work in."

For Bochy, Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the staff, it's less about the numbers than it is about how Beede is getting there. He cut two pitches from his repertoire and has gone back to his roots, pumping high-velocity fastballs while also relying on a curveball and changeup. Beede went heavy with the fastball Thursday night against the A's. He threw 96 mph past Stephen Piscotty in his first inning and ended that frame by blowing 94 mph past Matt Olson on the inner half of the plate. 

Both players took awkward swings, and that's something Zaidi talked about at length a few hours before Beede took the mound. 

"It was interesting going back and watching some of his video from last year -- he was throwing 96-97 but wasn't getting the results that you would expect for someone with that kind of velocity," Zaidi said. "I just think right now he's kind of throwing his fastball with impact. Guys are getting late and uncomfortable swings as opposed to the comfortable 97. He's turned it into an uncomfortable 97.

"He's talked about getting more spin on his breaking ball and he's got a good changeup, but ultimately a guy with that kind of arm, you want to see him throw his fastball and be willing to challenge guys. I think the fastball impact for me has been the biggest thing. If he can do that, the rest of the package is going to come together really well."

Zaidi has entered the organization with fresh eyes, and that will be a boost for players like Beede, who have had some down times under the previous regime. He is inching his way up the depth chart, and behind the scenes, the Giants wouldn't be surprised if Beede works his way into the back of the rotation relatively quickly. 

[RELATED: Mike Krukow is 'pretty excited' about Beede]

He also could become an option out of the bullpen, and on Thursday he certainly had a bit of an Archie Bradley thing going on. For now, the Giants will let Beede get stretched out and see if he can keep the momentum going. 

"He's got the equipment," Bochy said. "This guy, it's his time. He's really taking advantage of this spring and showing that he's a different guy."

Madison Bumgarner not thinking about possible final days with Giants

Madison Bumgarner not thinking about possible final days with Giants

Madison Bumgarner has two or three more starts left this season.

Those could be Bumgarner's final starts in a Giants uniform.

With the playoffs out of sight for the Giants and free agency looming for Bumgarner, he is starting to field some of the same questions he got before the July 31 trade deadline.

Has Bumgarner started to think about the end of his time with the Giants?

"No, I hadn't," Bumgarner told reporters after the Giants' 4-2 loss to the Marlins. "I don't want that to come across the wrong way, but same deal, just take it one game at a time. Who knows what the future holds. Can't get caught up in that, so we had a ballgame to win today and I did my best to give us a chance to win and that's all I can really do."

Bumgarner was his vintage self on Saturday night. In seven strong innings, he allowed four hits and two earned runs. One pitch to Miami catcher Jorge Alfaro cost him.

Despite the two-run homer allowed to Alfaro, manager Bruce Bochy liked what he saw from his ace.

"I thought he was great tonight," Bochy told reporters. "Really good, effecient job. One pitch there left the ballpark, but overall, there he is, seven innings, two runs, that's pretty nice work. We're just struggling offensively, couple runners left on third with one out, that's not going to help out matters either."

[RELATED: Where Bumgarner projects among free agents]

Bumgarner will hit the free agent market for the first time this winter. With the Giants rebuilding, it's quite possible that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi lets Bumgarner leave in free agency. Or Zaidi could bring back Bumgarner to anchor the rotation for a few more years.

As Bumgarner said himself on Saturday night, who knows what the future holds.

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner listed as fourth-best 2020 MLB free agent

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner listed as fourth-best 2020 MLB free agent

The 2019-20 MLB free agent class doesn't have the star power of last offseason's crop, but there are still several franchise-changing players that will be available.

Madison Bumgarner, who was not traded by the Giants prior to the July 31 MLB trade deadline, will test the free agent market for the first time in his career.

Coming off a contract that saw him earn $12 million in each of the last two seasons, this winter is Bumgarner's chance to cash in.

As the 2019 season winds down, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince projected the top 20 free agents-to-be and has the Giants icon ranked No. 4 on the list.

"Despite an overall velocity decline since 2016 and a wealth of big league innings since debuting at age 19, Bumgarner has remained effective this season with increased curveball usage," Castrovince wrote. "Savvy teams might target ways to further tap into his potential as he enters his 30s, and, even in our increasingly analytical age, his pedigree is valued."

The players ranked ahead of Bumgarner are, in order, Astros ace Gerrit Cole, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon and Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.

After two injury-shortened seasons, Bumgarner stayed healthy this year and will make his 32nd start on Saturday night against the Marlins. If he makes his final two scheduled starts, he will match a career-high with 34.

In his 31 starts this season, Bumgarner has a 3.77 ERA with 184 strikeouts in 188 2/3 innings.

While those numbers are respectable, that ERA would be the worst of his career.

Still, Bumgarner holds tremendous value for any prospective team, including possibly with the Giants. Aside from freak injuries, he's a workhorse who takes the ball every fifth day without complaint.

Bumgarner has one of the most decorated postseason resumes, so perennial contenders like the Yankees and Braves would be perfect fits for the 2014 World Series MVP.

[RELATED: Bumgarner could lead NL in innings pitched]

It will be fascinating to watch the market for Bumgarner play out this offseason. Giants fans understand his value, but MLB teams might not fully appreciate what he brings to the table and undervalue him because he's 30 years old and has never won a Cy Young. But you're paying for the no-nonsense workhorse.

Our advice to interested teams? Back up the Brinks truck for Bumgarner.