How Zack Wheeler's reported $118M contract affects Madison Bumgarner market

How Zack Wheeler's reported $118M contract affects Madison Bumgarner market

A former Giants top prospect is getting over $100 million on the free-agent market, while San Francisco's longtime ace looks to sign his own lucrative contract. 

Zack Wheeler, whom the Giants selected No. 6 overall in the 2009 MLB Draft and traded to the Mets in 2011, reportedly has agreed to five-year contract with the Phillies. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday that Wheeler is signing for $118 million. 

The Athletic's Marc Craig was first to report Wheeler had agreed to terms with the Phillies. 

Does this mean Madison Bumgarner is set for a major payday his first time as a free agent? There are arguments for both sides. 

It really shouldn't come as a shock that Wheeler is getting over $100 million on the open market. MLB Trade Rumors predicted the right-hander would sign a five-year, $100 million contract with none other than the Phillies. But the website has MadBum signing a much cheaper, four-year, $72 million deal with the Twins. 

Those predictions came one month ago on Nov. 5. Much could change in that span, and it appears Bumgarner now is believed to sign a much heftier contract. 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday that the Braves turned to veteran pitcher Cole Hamels after feeling Bumgarner's price tag likely will exceed $100 million. There are plenty of reasons for Bumgarner and his representatives to believe he deserves nine figures after seeing Wheeler's deal, too. 

After two freak injuries in 2017 and 2018, Bumgarner proved he was healthy and still a workhorse in 2019. Despite turning 30 years old in August, he led the majors with 34 starts and pitched 207 2/3 innings. The left-hander's velocity actually rose, too. 

Bumgarner's average four-seam fastball was 91.72 mph last season, according to Brooks Baseball, which is his highest since 2015. While MadBum is considered an old-school personality, he gave those in the sabermetrics community a big reason for optimism last season. The spin rate on his four-seamer went from 2,081 in 2018 to 2,405 last season, according to Baseball Savant

Though Bumgarner's fastball velocity in 2019 was in just the 10th percentile, his fastball spin rate was in the 87th percentile. 

Wheeler is considered a statcast sweetheart around the industry. He averaged nearly 97 miles per hour on his fastball last year. According to data from Baseball Savant, Wheeler's fastball velocity is in the 94th percentile, his opponent exit velocity is in the 90th percentile and his hard-hit percentage is in 82nd percentile. 

[RELATED: Gabe Kapler hasn't spoken with free agent Madison Bumgarner]

And though Bumgarner only is 10 months older than Wheeler, he has thrown over 1,000 more regular-season innings than the former Met, along with an extra 102 1/3 in the playoffs. 

Don't be surprised if Wheeler still earns more than the World Series hero, but MadBum certainly could sign a much larger contract than first expected on the open market. 

Giants notes: Reyes Moronta takes next step in rehab, joins player pool

Giants notes: Reyes Moronta takes next step in rehab, joins player pool

As the Giants continue to try out guys who might be part of their next good bullpen, they had a positive update on a right-hander who once seemed set to be the future closer. 

Reyes Moronta, out since last summer because of shoulder surgery, joined the alternate site in Sacramento on Friday. Moronta has not pitched since last Aug. 31 and was put on the 45-day injured list during the first camp, but manager Gabe Kapler said the staff believes Moronta has a chance to return in September. He will start a throwing program in Sacramento. 

"We're actively seeking out that possibility, we're actively pushing towards (him becoming) an option for us," Kapler said. "We think he has enough time, but of course we always put the health of our players first. We won't push him too hard or too fast."

Moronta joined the Sacramento camp along with Hunter Bishop, who tested positive for COVID-19 more than a month ago and recently passed the necessary tests to be part of the player pool as planned. Kapler exchanged texts with Bishop and said the 2019 first-round pick is extremely excited to finally be part of the player pool. Bishop isn't close to the big league level, but he should benefit from everyday work with the staff in Sacramento. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

--- The Giants added two more to that camp in a very "2020 baseball season" way. Steven Duggar and Andrew Triggs were taken off the taxi squad and sent back to Sacramento so they can get some reps in while the Giants play the Los Angeles Dodgers. They flew from Denver to Los Angeles with the club and then took separate cars up to Sacramento. 

"I think we can be a little bit more flexible there and think about the reps versus being right next door," Kapler said. "We still feel like it's a pretty easy ask to have somebody come from the Sacramento site once we're in Los Angeles."

The Giants hope, obviously, that they don't need reinforcements this week. But if they do need an outfielder like Duggar, that's a lot of time on I-5. Dereck Rodriguez, Andrew Suarez and Chris Herrmann remain on the traveling taxi squad. 

[RELATED: How Yaz has turned into Giants star after close call]

--- Drew Smyly (finger) saw a hand specialist and it went well, Kapler said. The Giants will reevaluate him at the end of this road trip, which goes through Wednesday. Sam Coonrod (lat) has started throwing with no issues 

--- Kapler said Jaylin Davis is making progress with his swing and "things are trending in the right direction there." Also in Sacramento, Joey Bart played an inning of first base in Thursday's simulated game. 

Giants vs. Dodgers live stream: How to watch MLB games online, on TV

Giants vs. Dodgers live stream: How to watch MLB games online, on TV

The Giants head to Los Angeles for the second time in the 2020 season and open up a three-game set against the rival Dodgers.

The Giants (6-8) are coming off a series loss to the Rockies, while the Dodgers (9-4) took two out of three from the San Diego Padres. The Giants and Dodgers split their four-game series when the two division rivals faced two weeks ago. 

Here's how you can watch the Giants play the Dodgers online (download the MyTeams app here!) and on TV:

Friday, Aug. 7

When: Giants Pregame Live at 6 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 6:40 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Stream: MyTeams app

Saturday, Aug. 8

When: Giants Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 6:10 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Stream: MyTeams app

Sunday, Aug. 9

When: Giants Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 1:10 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Stream: MyTeams app

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]