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MLB rumors: Giants 'likely' a Gerrit Cole mystery team in free agency

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MLB rumors: Giants 'likely' a Gerrit Cole mystery team in free agency

The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels reportedly are the favorites to land Gerrit Cole, but they might not be the only teams pursuing the ace. 

MLB Network's Jon Heyman tweeted earlier Tuesday that there was a "mystery team" pursuing Cole. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand tweeted Tuesday night that the Giants and Houston Astros "likely" are the mystery teams trying to sign Cole, but they face stiff competition. 

Cole finished second in AL Cy Young voting in 2019 behind then-Astros teammate Justin Verlander. The UCLA product posted a 2.50 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 212 1/3 innings with Houston, going 20-5 and striking out a career-high 326 batters. Cole is expected to command over $300 million, which could be too hefty a price for the rebuilding Giants. San Francisco appeared to open the door for the Angels on Tuesday, helping Los Angeles clear salary by acquiring oft-injured infielder Zack Cozart and 2019 first-round draft pick Will Wilson.

[RELATED: New Giants prospect Wilson already hates rival Dodgers]

But the 29-year-old has a San Francisco connection that can't be ignored. Cole's wife is Amy Crawford, sister of Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. 

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the team hoped to leave the Winter Meetings with a new starting pitcher. The Giants signed Kevin Gausman on Tuesday, but it's possible they leave with another if they're able to out-bid Cole's reported suitors. Heyman tweeted Tuesday night that there is a "strong likelihood" Cole reaches a deal before the Winter Meetings end. 

Baseball Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds falls short in eighth straight year

Baseball Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds falls short in eighth straight year

The wait continues for Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader. 

Barry Bonds again fell well short of the needed vote total to make it to the Hall of Fame, finishing with 60.7 percent of the vote in his eighth year on the ballot. Bonds needs to get to 75 percent to make it to Cooperstown and now has just two more years to get there. 

Bonds saw a very slight uptick from 2019, when he received 59.1 percent of the vote. Since crossing over the halfway mark in 2017, he has gotten 53.8 percent, 56.4, 59.1 and now 60.7, but there is still a long way to go and not a whole lot of momentum at the moment. Bonds continues to see more support from younger voters and those who are willing to make their selections public -- he was at 71.2 percent on the 211 ballots that were released before Tuesday's announcement -- but he annually sees a big drop when the private ballots are added in. 

Bonds is MLB's all-time leader in homers and walks and was a seven-time National League MVP, but he continues to pay for his connection to performance-enhancing drugs. Roger Clemens, who has a remarkably similar case, received 61 percent of the vote this year. 

[RELATED: Giants first base coach Richardson defined by perseverance]

The class will be a small one, with just Derek Jeter and Larry Walker making it. Jeter was listed on 396 of 397 ballots, coming one vote shy of joining former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Famers. Walker made it in his final year on the ballot, clearing the threshold by just six votes. 

Two of Bonds' teammates received enough support that they will stay on the ballot. Longtime big league shortstop Omar Vizquel finished at 52.6 percent and former Giants MVP Jeff Kent at 27.5. Former A's Jason Giambi and Eric Chavez were among those who did not receive the five percent needed to stay on the ballot another year. 

Giants claim starting pitcher Luis Madero from Angels, DFA Jake Jewell

Giants claim starting pitcher Luis Madero from Angels, DFA Jake Jewell

For the second week in a row, the Giants claimed a right-hander from the Los Angeles Angels and made room on the roster by releasing another former Angel. 

This time, it was 22-year-old Luis Madero joining the organization on a waiver claim, with fellow right-hander Jake Jewell getting designated for assignment. Jewell had been claimed last Monday and the Giants cleared a spot that day by designating Zack Cozart. 

Madero, who made it to Double-A last season, seems to bring a bit more upside to an organization looking to hit on underrated prospects. He was ranked 11th in the Angels' system at the time of the waiver claim, according to MLB Pipeline. Madero had been DFA'd last week.

Madero was originally signed out of Venezuela by the Diamondbacks and has spent the last two seasons in A-ball and Double-A with the Angels. He made 24 appearances last season -- 22 of which were starts -- and posted a 5.03 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. 

[RELATED: Bonds falls short of Baseball Hall of Fame for eighth time]

According to MLB Pipeline, Madero has a low 90s sinker and a good slider. That could be a solid combination out of the bullpen, although the Giants also are working to stockpile starting pitching depth. They figure to have a pretty good handle of what Madero is capable of, as new pitching coach Andrew Bailey came to the Giants after two years on staff with the Angels.