The Giants made a bit of a surprise move when they extended Kevin Gausman the $18.9 million qualifying offer on Sunday. Was this a sign of things to come?
MLB Network's Jon Heyman believes the Giants might have their eyes on a higher-profile starting pitcher who also was handed a qualifying offer. On Heyman's latest episode of his "Big Time Baseball" podcast, he made quite the bold prediction and said NL Cy Young favorite Trevor Bauer will sign a long-term contract with the Giants.
"Look, the Giants signaled they have money," Heyman said. "I'm gonna say the Giants -- I've heard that whispered for the Giants with Bauer, we shall see. He's got personality quirks and that may hold him back.
"He's a fantastic pitcher -- incredible, great pitcher. I'm gonna say he gets five for 150."
That's a five-year, $150 million contract from the Giants for Bauer, who turns 30 years old in January.
Bauer's agent, Rachel Luba, tweeted Wednesday that Bauer will turn down the Cincinnati Reds' qualifying offer. The prized free agent will hit the open market, and should have plenty of suitors. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand believes Bauer could make sense for the Giants, too.
“We know next winter is when a lot of money comes off the books with a lot of those long-term guys,” Feinsand said on the latest episode of "Balk Talk." “Next winter you expect the Giants to be major players in free agency. That said, if they decide they can make one last run with that core, Bauer could be a guy going after -- either on a one-year offer or on a multi-year offer.”
Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford all could come off the Giants' books after the 2021 season. Belt and Crawford are set to be free agents after next season, while Posey and Cueto both have a 2022 team option. With Posey back after opting out of the 2020 season, Belt having a breakout year at the plate and the Giants just missing the playoffs this season, perhaps the front office feels San Francisco can be competitive next year with Bauer making him them contenders.
Bauer went 5-4 for the Reds this year while leading the NL in ERA (1.73), ERA+ (276) and WHIP (0.795). He led the majors in hits per nine innings at 5.1, and struck out 100 batters in 73 innings while making 11 starts in the shortened season.
He certainly comes with his quirks, too, as someone who defies the unwritten rules of baseball and actively vlogs his life. The former No. 3 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft also has found himself in hot water for his social media activity and was seen harassing a woman online last year.
President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has only handed out one multi-year contract since being hired prior to the 2019 season. That belongs to infielder Wilmer Flores and that totaled just $6.25 million. Zaidi isn't known for handing out huge contracts, but he has chased the likes of Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani.
Will Bauer be the next big fish Zaidi tries to catch? This is primed to be a slow offseason, but the stove could get a lot hotter if the Giants do indeed have their eyes set on the star pitcher.