Giants

MLB rumors: Rays coach Matt Quatraro finalist to be next Giants manager

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MLB rumors: Rays coach Matt Quatraro finalist to be next Giants manager

Several MLB teams entered the offseason searching for a new manager. The Giants and Pirates are the final two looking for a new leader. 

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi seems to have a list of finalists, too. The third name is the real mystery, though.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported on Oct. 31 that the Giants were down to former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Royals quality control coach Pero Grifol. One week later, it appears Kapler and Espada remain in the race, but Grifol no longer is part of the group. 

The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea reported Wednesday that Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro is a finalist -- not Grifol -- along with Kapler and Espada. Quatraro was first tied to the Giants on Oct. 17, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin. 

Quatraro, 45, was named Tampa Bay's bench coach prior to this past season. He spent 2018 as the Rays' third base coach after four seasons as the Indians' assistant hitting coach. 

The Indians ranked fifth in MLB in runs per game (4.6) during his time in Cleveland and fifth in on-base percentage (.327). The Giants ranked 28th in the majors last season in total runs scored (678) and in on-base percentage (.302). 

[RELATED: Report: Cubs' Harris is a candidate for Giants' GM opening]

Though Quatraro doesn't have managing experience in the big leagues, he has managed in the minors. He managed two seasons in Short-Season Class A Hudson Valley (2006-07), one season for Class A Columbus (2008) and one season for Class A Bowling Green (2009).

Quatraro has experience in multiple roles on winning teams. As Zaidi hones in on who should lead the Giants, it makes plenty of sense why Quatraro is a finalist.

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.