Giants

MLB rumors: Kevan Graves, Pete Putila added to Giants' GM search

MLB rumors: Kevan Graves, Pete Putila added to Giants' GM search

The Pittsburgh Pirates began making some staffing changes when they fired manager Clint Hurdle last season. They're also making some front-office changes with their current general manager search. 

The changes mirror that of the Giants who are currently on their own hunt to fill the same position -- and both teams appear to be interested in Kevan Graves.

Graves, the Pirates interim GM after Pittsburgh dismissed Neal Huntington last week, is a candidate in San Francisco's quest to fill the position under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. MLB.com's Adam Berry reported the news Thursday, citing a source. 

Berry explained Graves assisted Huntington with having his hand in just about everything from roster management, player evaluation, financial planning ... the list goes on-and-on.

With Graves being considered to take over for the job he's already doing with the Pirates, that could create an obvious, easy solution for the team he and Huntington did so much for.

He's not the only candidate for the Giants, however.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal also reported Thursday that Houston Astros farm director Pete Putila is among candidates for the Giants' GM vacancy as well. He joins Chicago Cubs assistant GM Scott Harris and Graves as known candidates.

Putila's addition could be just what Zaidi would want in a GM.

[RELATED: Madison Bumgarner 'most fascinating' free agent]

From the beginning, Zaidi has been saying to pay attention to the younger guys. Putila's background with a very successful organization included a role in player development at the major-league level, but still having his main focus in the minor leagues. He's comfortable with the lower levels of the organizations and helped the Astros with their goal-setting program for each player in the organization. That alone sings to the tune of what Zaidi wants.

Still, Rosenthal added it's unclear where the Giants are in the current search.  

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.