Madison Bumgarner could be back sooner than expected


Madison Bumgarner could be back sooner than expected

PITTSBURGH -- Madison Bumgarner needed four rehab starts last season before a return to the big leagues. The Giants have already discussed cutting that way back this time, with him possibly needing just one or two. 

Manager Bruce Bochy said Bumgarner's flat-ground work has been so impressive that he won't need as much minor league time as a year ago. But there's something else at play here, something left unsaid. 

The standard for the rotation right now is not very high. The Giants haven't had a starter complete six innings since last Saturday, and too many starts are ending after the fourth. Couldn't Bumgarner do that as he works to build arm strength? Yes, yes he could, and those innings would likely be crisper than the ones Bochy is getting now. 

Bumgarner will throw a bullpen session Monday in San Francisco. He will face hitters when the Giants are in Houston the next week. He is eligible to return on May 26, and Bochy said he won't need much more time than that. 

"It's going to be close," he said. "That's how well he's throwing the ball. If his pitch count is around 75 in that (rehab start) he could make a start here, similar to what we did with Shark. We'll fill in with the bullpen instead of taking another (rehab) start to get up to 100 pitches. we'll see where we're at and how he's feeling."

--- Alen Hanson isn't feeling great. His tight left hamstring is still sore, and he's day to day (like all of us, technically). Bochy wasn't sure if Hanson would be available off the bench today. Evan Longoria is the choice to move to short or second if the Giants are in a jam. 

--- Derek Law walked into the clubhouse Sunday morning in a walking boot, which was interesting because he was optioned to the minors while the Giants were still in Philadelphia. Law tweaked his ankle while hitting the bag on a grounder against the Phillies. It's not considered serious, but it made sense to keep him around. He's from Pittsburgh, so he spent the weekend here and he'll fly back to San Francisco with the team before driving to Sacramento. 

MLB rumors: Live 2018 Winter Meetings news, trade talk, updates on Day 2


MLB rumors: Live 2018 Winter Meetings news, trade talk, updates on Day 2

Executives and agents arrived Monday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings, but they didn't do much on Day 1.

[RELATED: News, rumors on Day 1 of the MLB Winter Meetings]

That's sure to change Tuesday, as teams continue conversations that might allow them to alter their rosters, through signings and/or trades. Both Bay Area teams could be busy: The Giants, under new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, have confirmed their interest in adding two more outfielders, and the A's are focused on starting pitchers, along with depth at catcher and second base.

Now, it's time to see what deals will be struck. Keep it here throughout Day 2 of the Winter Meetings for the latest live news, rumors and trade chatter.

4:42 p.m. PT: Yasiel Puig to ... Cincinnati? That's a real possibility, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman and The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow wouldn't mind seeing Puig in San Francisco, but he doesn't think that's a real possibility. 

4:20 p.m. PT: A's general manager David Forst said Monday that "you don't ever make it your goal to actually do something" at the Winter Meetings, but he may be contradicting his own advice.

Oakland announced its first signing of the Winter Meetings: Catcher Chris Herrmann. 

They also appear to be headed in a different direction at second base, according to NBC Sports California's Ben Ross. One possible name? Bay-Area native Troy Tulowitzki.

11:58 a.m. PT: Andrew McCutchen just got PAID! According to multiple reports, Cutch will get a three-year contract worth $50 million from the Phillies. The deal will also include a club option.

11:30 a.m. PT: The Red Sox just won the World Series, and now they want to shed some payroll. According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, some rival executives are wondering if Boston will try to move former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.

Would the Giants or A's be interested in Porcello? With his $21.125 million salary for 2019, it's not likely either would be able to add him without the Red Sox kicking in some money.

11:22 a.m. PT: Is Andrew McCutchen headed back to Pennsylvania? According to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury, the Phillies have expressed interest in signing the former Giants outfielder.

11:11 a.m. PT: The A's loved having veteran Jonathan Lucroy as their backstop this past season, but it's possible they could be looking for an upgrade in 2019. Could that mean a run at Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto?

11:04 a.m. PT: The Pirates and White Sox made their trade official. Right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova is going to Chicago, while 19-year-old right-handed pitcher Yordi Rosario and $500,000 in internation signing bonus pool money will go to Pittsburgh.

10:03 a.m. PT: Does Jerry Dipoto sleep? A little more than a week after acquiring Carlos Santana from the Phillies, the Mariners GM reportedly talked to the Marlins about the first baseman/designated hitter last week.

9:58 a.m. PT: We have an arms race in the AL Central! OK, maybe not.

But one day after the Tigers added Tyson Ross, the White Sox reportedly will acquire Ivan Nova from the Pirates.

9:26 a.m. PT: On Monday night, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told reporters that he let Hunter Strickland go in part because of the depth in the bullpen. But The Athletic's Mark Saxon is reporting that the Giants are receiving a lot of calls on left-hander Will Smith.

9:22 a.m. PT: With Patrick Corbin off the market, lefty JA Happ is one of the top free-agent starting pitchers still available. Happ's decision could come soon if he receives a three-year offer.

9:21 a.m. PT: While the Phillies pursue top free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, they reportedly are trying to beef up their pitching staff.

8:14 a.m. PT: Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar finished second on the AL Rookie of the Year voting, but he might not get a second season in the Bronx. According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, Andujar could be moved in a potential blockbuster deal with the Mets and Marlins. If the Yankees traded Andujar, that could open the door for them to sign free agent Manny Machado.

7:06 a.m. PT: The Yankees might be serious about their pursuit of shortstop Manny Machado. On Monday, GM Brian Cashman said he has spoken several times with Machado's agent. Now, they reportedly have reached out to former Orioles manager Buck Showalter for his thoughts on the Machado.

The Yankees are showing great hustle in their background work on Machado ...

7:03 a.m. PT: Late on Monday night, rumors started to swirl that the Mets, Yankees and Marlins were working on a blockbuster trade that would send catcher J.T. Realmuto to Queens, All-Star starter Noah Syndergaard to the Bronx and prospects to Miami.

But the Marlins are downplaying that potential deal, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

6:57 a.m. PT: With Patrick Corbin officially signed, the Nationals might look to move starter Tanner Roark. According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, Washington has talked to several teams about a deal for Roark, who is projected to make $9.8 million in arbitration.

Could Roark be a fit with the A's? They need several starters to fill out the rotation, and the teams have made a lot of trades over the last decade. Stay tuned ...

Would Giants ever trade for Yasiel Puig? 'Hell no' says Mike Krukow

Would Giants ever trade for Yasiel Puig? 'Hell no' says Mike Krukow

The Giants are in search of outfielders this offseason. The Dodgers have a surplus of outfielders and could look to trade one.

So could Yasiel Puig be on the move from Los Angeles to San Francisco? The case was made on Tuesday for why the Giants should pursue a potential trade.

On Tuesday afternoon, NBC Sports Bay Area caught up with Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow to get his thoughts on all things Puig.

"If Puig came in and had a good year, I think he would definitely win the hearts of the Bay Area," Krukow said during a phone interview. "It would be wonderful to see the Giants win a division and have one of the major contributors be Puig and beat the Dodgers on the last day. I could sit here and paint a scenario for you that would be quite golden. But bottom line, do I think it will ever happen? Hell no."

The chances of the two bitter rivals making the trade are slim, but with former Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi running the show in San Francisco, anything is possible.

Even though Krukow doesn't think a trade will go down, if it were to occur, he wants to see it happen soon.

"I think if it ever indeed happens, I hope it happens during the tenure of Madison Bumgarner," Krukow said. "And they could locker next to each other. I think that would be fitting."

Bumgarner and Puig have had a long history of heated kerfuffles. The Giants ace doesn't like it when Puig shows emotion on the field. But Krukow believes the two could co-exist if forced to be teammates.

"It happens when you are in this game long enough. You're going to play with a guy you didn't necessarily like when you played against him," Krukow said. "But one thing that Madison Bumgarner likes is guys that win, guys that prepare, guys that come and play hard. And if this guy came in and showed those tendencies and played hard, I don't think anyone in that clubhouse would have a problem with him. Bottom line is, if he helps you win, and you win, you're going to love him."

Following the 2017 season, after Puig hit a career-high 28 home runs, Krukow had this to say about Puig on the Giants.

"I'd have said I don't want him to come near the Giants organization," Krukow told KNBR 680. "But I think now I'd love to have him in the organization because of what we saw last year."

The Giants want to win badly. They want to get back to their championship ways. They want to dethrone the Dodgers from their six-year perch atop the NL West. Should they look into Puig? As Zaidi said during his introductory press conference in relation to a possible Bumgarner trade, "everything has to be on the table in terms of how we move this team and roster forward.”

So, Giants fans, maybe that means Puig in Orange and Black.