Giants starter Madison Bumgarner didn't "give a s--t," when asked about the continued trade rumors circling around him on Thursday night. But whether he knew it or not, there was representation from the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins watching him, MLB Network Insider Jon Morosi reported Friday morning.
But they weren't alone.
Special assistants from the Rays, Braves, Phillies, Padres and Dodgers were there, but they may have been focused on more than MadBum, Morosi said on MLB Network Friday morning. But the recent surge could change some things.
Following Bum's nine-inning, six strikeout performance and the way the Giants have been playing, "More likely than not, but there is no longer a certainty he gets moved by July 31."
The hard trade deadline at the end of the month is rapidly approaching and teams aren't messing around. Morosi said there are multiple organizations making efforts to watch the four-time All-Star. There were "many scouts" at Oracle Park on Thursday night, but not all of them were there for him.
Morosi added the Red Sox are in the market for a reliever, but likely do not possess enough prospects for the ace. But Will Smith could create a better, more affordable package.
The Dodgers still have interest in adding to their bullpen, and the Braves and Phillies are "very much involved in the Bumgarner pursuit," Morosi added.
[RELATED: Flannery says Giants owe it to MadBum to trade him]
And the Yankees are always eyeing the pitching market and will be aggressive.
The hot stove remains lit.
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.
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.