Giants

Madison Bumgarner wants to stay with Giants, pushes for Bryce Harper

Madison Bumgarner wants to stay with Giants, pushes for Bryce Harper

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — At his introductory press conference in November, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was open about the fact that he would consider trading Madison Bumgarner under the right circumstances. Around that time, he reached out to the ace himself. 

Asked Tuesday if he responded to the text, Bumgarner, notoriously hard to reach during the offseason, smiled. 

“That’s classified information,” he said. 

If Zaidi’s text went unreturned, he’ll have a chance to deliver his message again this week in person. Bumgarner showed up at Scottsdale Stadium on Tuesday morning and took his physical. After a winter of rumors, he remains a Giant. He’ll take the ball on Opening Day, and he reiterated that he hopes to do the same in future years. 

“Obviously, this is where I came up. I’ve been through a lot here,” Bumgarner said. “A lot of good times and a few bad times, also. Obviously I would love to stay here. If that happens or not, I don’t know. Some parts are in my control, some parts aren’t. 

“For right now, I’m just focused on getting this year started and getting back to the postseason.” 

Bumgarner knows as well as anyone how long that road might be. He has had two straight injury-wrecked seasons, and his results haven’t been what he’s grown accustomed to even when he has been on the mound. The team has lost 187 games the past two seasons, but Bumgarner came to camp with optimism. 

He also came ready to join the chorus of veterans looking for a boost. After initially joking that he didn’t want to talk about anyone who wasn’t a Giant, Bumgarner said Bryce Harper would be a “huge addition for us.”

“He’s obviously a superstar in the game, a young player,” Bumgarner said. “I think everybody in here would be pretty damn excited to have him.”

If that deal doesn’t happen, though, Bumgarner won’t drop his head. 

“My plan is winning this year,” he said. “I think that’s everybody in this clubhouse’s plan, regardless of the names that you see or don’t see. I’ve been part of teams that we won when we probably weren’t supposed to and we shouldn’t have. You can do it and we’ve seen plenty of other teams do it. 

“Obviously some guys — like Harper — that’s going to make any team better, but that’s not to say that we couldn’t do it without him. I think we’ve got the guys and we can do it. It’s all a mentality.”

The Giants are counting on Bumgarner to instill that mentality in others. Two lockers away, Buster Posey has preached the same message. The two do not want anyone to start the season with the mindset that the front office is rebuilding or this is another lost season. 

[RELATED: Zaidi shuts down latest MadBum trade rumors]

For much of the offseason, it would have been hard for the other Giants to have optimism. Trading Bumgarner would have been a clear step in a new direction, but he’s still here, and the goal now is to make sure the process doesn’t repeat itself. 

“I paid attention to what was going on and the rumblings, so yeah, I think there was obviously some question, but I felt there was a pretty good chance he would be here,” Posey said. “I hope we’re in a position at the trade deadline where it makes no sense for him to be anywhere else.”

MLB rumors: Cardinals 'entering the fray' to pursue Madison Bumgarner

MLB rumors: Cardinals 'entering the fray' to pursue Madison Bumgarner

With the Winter Meetings rapidly approaching, MLB free agency is heating up.

One of the top available pitchers -- Madison Bumgarner -- is expected to be in high demand, particularly now that Cole Hamels has signed with the Braves and Zack Wheeler reportedly has agreed to a five-year contract with the Phillies. For teams who scoff at Gerrit Cole's price tag, Bumgarner might be the logical compromise.

The Giants have been "in communication" with Bumgarner, but rumor has it another interested team has entered the mix.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Bumgarner, citing a source.

St. Louis already has brought back veteran Adam Wainwright on a one-year deal, and after he, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson, there appears to be an opening for Bumgarner in the starting rotation. Signing with the Cardinals would not only allow Bumgarner to continue pitching in the National League, but would also allow him to continue taking his own at-bats, which we know he loves so much. He also has been linked to teams such as the Twins and White Sox, but would forfeit his at-bats to a DH in each of those situations.

[RELATED: How Wheeler's reported $118M contract could affect MadBum]

While Bumgarner is expected to receive a contract in excess of $100 million, Feinsand suggests Wheeler's reported $118 million payday might serve to increase the total.

MLB rumors: Yankees make signing free agent Gerrit Cole top priority

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MLB rumors: Yankees make signing free agent Gerrit Cole top priority

Gerrit Cole is far and away the gem of the 2019 MLB free-agent class.

The former Pirates and Astros ace led the American League in both ERA and strikeouts last season and finished just behind teammate Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young Award race.

The team that historically always has had the deepest pockets in baseball -- the New York Yankees -- have made Cole a priority in free agency, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Thursday, citing a source.

Cole is a Southern California native with familial ties to the Giants, a team that also features one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the MLB. San Francisco also has been mentioned as a destination for the ace, who reportedly desires a return to the West Coast.

But if the Yankees, who always have jumped to outbid every other team for talent in free agency, decide to back up the proverbial Brinks truck for the 29-year-old, the Giants might be swiftly eliminated from contention for Cole.

Reports indicate that Cole’s price tag will “shatter” the record set by David Price when he signed a $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2015.

[RELATED: Report: Giants targeted UGA's pitching coach for same role]

While San Francisco has plenty of money to spend this offseason, it likely won’t engage in a bidding war that could approach $300 million.

Even if longtime Giant and current free agent Madison Bumgarner elects to go elsewhere in free agency, it remains to be seen how much money San Francisco would be willing to shell out for an elite talent like Cole in the heart of his prime.