The Giants have marked Sept. 29 on their calendars for a while now.
The date marks manager Bruce Bochy's last in a Giants uniform. And the same could be said for longtime team ace Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner, who turns 31 years old next August, is set to hit the free-agent market this offseason. Before then, though, he will have one final start with Bochy on Sunday against the Dodgers in San Francisco. It very well could be his last with the team he has been with for over a decade.
Or the Giants could hand Bumgarner a hefty contract and keep him in San Francisco.
"I think Farhan [Zaidi] has had ongoing discussions with his representatives throughout the 2019 season," Giants CEO Larry Baer said to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman. "I don’t want to get into what is or isn’t being discussed, but I know they’ve kept open lines of communication."
Bumgarner is expected to be one of the top arms available in free agency at the end of the season. His ERA is up to 3.86 this season, but he's back to his ways of being a workhorse and has thrown 200 innings for the first time since 2016, his last All-Star season.
If the Giants don't re-sign Bumgarner, they could look to an arm that is about to be worth a whole lot of money. Right-hander Gerrit Cole, who recently turned 29 years old, likely will get the largest contract on the open market before next season. Many believe Cole's super-agent Scott Boras will be fetching a contract worth at least $200 million.
Will the Giants spend big money on someone like Cole this offseason?
"It’s not so much, ‘Hey, do you have the money for Player X or the money for Player Y?’ Or, ‘How much does ownership want to spend?’ It’s more how does Farhan and the staff want to bake the cake?" Baer said to Schulman. "The way he’s been successful baking the cake is doing a lot from within, making strategic moves when they make sense.
"[Clayton] Kershaw got re-upped when he was very much part of the Dodgers. That was a top-of-the-market contract. It’s not being averse to spending money, but how do you really want to put the whole thing together?"
Cole is 18-5 with a 2.61 ERA and has 302 strikeouts in 200 1/3 innings pitched this season for the Astros. Zaidi never has been one to sign a player to a mega-contract, but Zaidi and the Giants did meet extensively with Boras this last offseason and offered his client Bryce Harper a $310 million contract.
The Giants were built on having at least one staff ace during their dynasty. Will Zaidi follow the same model and make sure Bumgarner or Cole are wearing orange and black next season?