Giants

McCutchen Mailbag: What does trade mean for Giants' young outfielders?

McCutchen Mailbag: What does trade mean for Giants' young outfielders?

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants will introduce Evan Longoria on Friday at AT&T Park (we’ll be airing it and doing Facebook Live, so get ready) and at some point they figure to get Andrew McCutchen up on a podium with a brand new jersey. 

At that point, McCutchen can talk a bit more about his new team and his walk year. For now, let’s run through some questions about the trade and what might come next … 

How are you liking this move, Alex? I love it. — @DionTheDude

I was an advocate of taking a step back in 2018 and rebuilding a bit for the future, but the Giants were never going to do that. So, if you’re going to go for it, I think McCutchen is the perfect fit and a really savvy move. I also don’t think it cost the Giants very much. For my full thoughts, check out the Emergency Andrew McCutchen Podcast I did with Ahmed Fareed. 

Slater showed some promise with the glove last season. Do you see him as an option in center field? 566 career CF innings in the minors. — @BrooksKnudsen 

I do, and at the winter meetings, team officials talked about him playing all three outfield spots. At the time it seemed the emphasis would be right field, but with McCutchen now out there, I would guess Slater sees most of his time in left with starts in center, as well. A lot of people asked about Slater, Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson etc. Simply put, the Giants are now in a position that normal teams hope to be in. They don’t have to rush some of these guys into a ton of starts in the outfield. The ones who have options can ride the Sacramento-San Francisco shuttle and provide more talent than in the past when a player gets hurt -- and on this old team, players will get hurt. Parker is out of options, but you’ll see some other familiar names fill out the outfield in Triple-A. If you missed it yesterday, here's the plan for Steven Duggar. 

Could the Giants go the Dee Gordon route and just sign Eduardo Nuñez to play center? - @raj_sidhu_123

I liked what the Mariners did with Dee Gordon, but Nuñez was pretty rough in left field last year. Having said that, I recently asked about him as a potential February addition, perhaps on a minor league deal if his market just turns out to be completely dry. I was told, “Nuñey is going to be just fine,” so I assume that he has some solid infield offers in hand. 

How about some pitching? - @pablodiablow 

My friend, we’re on the same page. The bullpen has been bad for two years and just lost a promising arm in Kyle Crick. Hopefully Derek Law fills that void, but he’s coming off a down year. I think they need another bullpen arm and another starter, because it would be rather shortsighted to build a lineup that you think can contend, and then turn the back end of the rotation over to a bunch of rookies. I expect a veteran or two to be in camp to compete for an Opening Day job. 

Does this mean Billy Hamilton is still possible? - @Gaberino4 

In conversations with sources, I haven’t heard Hamilton’s name in weeks. It was McCutchen, McCutchen, McCutchen at some point. I think that ship has likely sailed, as the Reds set a high asking price and didn’t waiver. Per Zach Buchanan, one of their beat writers, Hamilton is expected to start the season in Cincinnati. 

Was hanging onto Belt a priority? Seems like that would’ve been an ideal contract to get rid of given their cap issues. — @JoshSessler 

Yes, I’m told Belt was made just about untouchable at the start of the offseason, and frankly not many teams have asked about him given his potentially scary concussion issues. But to a larger point, holding Belt should’ve been a priority. He’s a good baseball player. End of story. Sorry, Belt Bashers. Even with McCutchen and Longoria, if I had to bet on who will lead the 2018 Giants in OPS, I would choose Belt. He should benefit quite a bit from hitting lower in the order. 

Do you have an estimate of how much money they still have for a center fielder? - @PeteDeBoerWar 

According to Cot’s, the best tracker out there, the Giants have about $4.4 million until they reach the tax. They were helped by the Pirates picking up $2.5 million of McCutchen’s $14.75 million deal. I think the actual number is $3-4 million under the tax, so that’s the budget for a defense-first center fielder, if that’s the way they go. 

You think they should go for Lorenzo Cain at a reasonable price now even if they lose the second-round pick? - @pejvahdat 

I do not. Cain is still going to be very expensive and he turns 32 in April, so forgive me for immediately thinking about the years I’ve spent covering an aging Angel Pagan and Denard Span. Cain is a much better defender than either of those two, but still, I think he comes with a lot of risk. Plus, the Giants just traded two of their top five prospects and they have a poor farm system. They need to nail those second- and fifth-round picks next year and add to what appeared to be a very good draft in 2017. At some point, a rebuild is coming. 

Where are all the people wanting Bobby Evans’ head now? — @kmav88

Oh, they’re still on Twitter. I still hear from them every day. Make no mistake about it, if this doesn’t work and the Giants fall well short of the postseason again, this will all come down on the front office. But for now, Evans has to be sleeping better. At the end of the day, he came away from the offseason with Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen, and so far he’s kept ownership from paying the tax again and given them two new stars to sell. That’ll play. 

Giants offered Madison Bumgarner four-year contract just above $70M

Giants offered Madison Bumgarner four-year contract just above $70M

For years, the formula at Oracle Park was simple. Draft and develop contributors and then lock them up to lucrative extensions. 

It was a plan that kept Giants fans and players happy, but over time it became clear it was not sustainable. The Giants are more pragmatic these days, and that showed in the negotiations with Madison Bumgarner. The Giants were in it until the end, but Bumgarner ultimately found more money elsewhere.

The Giants offered a four-year deal just above $70 million, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned. That fell short of the five-year $85 million deal Bumgarner reportedly has agreed to with the Diamondbacks. The Giants presented a higher average annual value but were unwilling to go to a fifth year for Bumgarner, who turned 30 in August. 

It’s unclear if anyone else out there was willing to offer the fifth year that ultimately may have been a tipping point. Bumgarner’s side sought a deal in excess of $100 million over the last week, meeting with the Giants and Dodgers at the Winter Meetings as the left-hander’s market started to come into place. 

While the Dodgers were serious about their pursuit, they never intended to get into the $100 million range. Instead, it was another NL West team that stepped up with the winning offer. 

[RELATED: Here's when MadBum, D-backs first play Giants in SF]

There would be no hometown discount this time. Bumgarner signed his first long-term deal as a 22-year-old, taking lifetime security and $35 million guaranteed, with two option years that were picked up. When he hit free agency for the first time, Bumgarner looked to make up for that below-market deal. The Diamondbacks were the ones most willing to help him do that. 

Madison Bumgarner to D-backs: Giants' Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford react

Madison Bumgarner to D-backs: Giants' Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford react

Every MLB roster goes through changes year after year. The Giants are no different.

But since May 2011, there have been three consistencies in San Francisco: Buster Posey has been behind the dish, Brandon Crawford has been at shortstop and Madison Bumgarner has been in the starting rotation. The final part of that equation is no more. 

Bumgarner reportedly agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract to join the Arizona Diamondbacks. There he will join former Giants catcher Stephen Vogt, and play his old teammates plenty of times as he stays in the NL West. 

Posey praised Bumgarner for his competitiveness, and told The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly that he's looking forward to facing MadBum. 

Baggarly also got a hold of Crawford, who admitted it "definitely will be weird" hitting off Bumgarner. 

Bumgarner and Posey won three World Series rings together, with Crawford being a part of the final two. But the amount of times Posey caught the lefty truly is wild to look at. 

[RELATED: Bumgarner leaving shows Giants now in full-blown rebuild]

The 30-year-old Bumgarner has pitched in 289 regular-season major league games. Posey has caught 228 of them. He has been in the squat for 1,451 1/3 innings of Bumgarner's 1,846 innings pitched in the regular season. The two were battery mates many, many more times in the playoffs as well. 

With the Giants moving on from Bumgarner, it's clear a full rebuild is going down in San Francisco. We might be counting down Posey and Crawford's playing days here, too.