Giants

Stephen Vogt's 'special night' highlights Giants' 10-5 win over A's

Stephen Vogt's 'special night' highlights Giants' 10-5 win over A's

Stephen Vogt became a cult figure during his five seasons in Oakland.

Now, he's on the opposing side, inflicting damage against the team that made him a household name.

On Saturday, Vogt's three-run homer capped off an eight-run eighth inning that led to the Giants' 10-5 win over the A's at the Coliseum.

"You smell a little bit of blood and it got contagious and everybody just kept coming up with clutch [at-bat] after clutch [at-bat]," Vogt told NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy G after the game. "So, whether it was a hit, walk, just getting on base any way you can, keep the line moving. It was such a fun inning and just awesome to blow it open and get the win."

Vogt found a home with the A's as a 28-year-old catcher in 2013, and made his first All-Star appearance as a 30-year-old in 2015. He became a clubhouse leader, and his departure from the A's in 2017 was an emotional moment for both the player and the fanbase.

So, returning to Oakland and punctuating the Giants' huge inning had a little extra meaning behind it.

"It was absolutely special," Vogt said. "A special night for me."

[RELATED: How TJ could affect Pablo's market]

Ever the class act, Vogt didn't forget to acknowledge the A's fans that gave him a standing ovation before his first at-bat of the game.

"I just want to thank the A's fans, actually," Vogt said. "Just a nice welcome back, that was a nice round of applause for me in my first at-bat. This place means so much to me and my family."

Madison Bumgarner not thinking about possible final days with Giants

Madison Bumgarner not thinking about possible final days with Giants

Madison Bumgarner has two or three more starts left this season.

Those could be Bumgarner's final starts in a Giants uniform.

With the playoffs out of sight for the Giants and free agency looming for Bumgarner, he is starting to field some of the same questions he got before the July 31 trade deadline.

Has Bumgarner started to think about the end of his time with the Giants?

"No, I hadn't," Bumgarner told reporters after the Giants' 4-2 loss to the Marlins. "I don't want that to come across the wrong way, but same deal, just take it one game at a time. Who knows what the future holds. Can't get caught up in that, so we had a ballgame to win today and I did my best to give us a chance to win and that's all I can really do."

Bumgarner was his vintage self on Saturday night. In seven strong innings, he allowed four hits and two earned runs. One pitch to Miami catcher Jorge Alfaro cost him.

Despite the two-run homer allowed to Alfaro, manager Bruce Bochy liked what he saw from his ace.

"I thought he was great tonight," Bochy told reporters. "Really good, effecient job. One pitch there left the ballpark, but overall, there he is, seven innings, two runs, that's pretty nice work. We're just struggling offensively, couple runners left on third with one out, that's not going to help out matters either."

[RELATED: Where Bumgarner projects among free agents]

Bumgarner will hit the free agent market for the first time this winter. With the Giants rebuilding, it's quite possible that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi lets Bumgarner leave in free agency. Or Zaidi could bring back Bumgarner to anchor the rotation for a few more years.

As Bumgarner said himself on Saturday night, who knows what the future holds.

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner listed as fourth-best 2020 MLB free agent

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner listed as fourth-best 2020 MLB free agent

The 2019-20 MLB free agent class doesn't have the star power of last offseason's crop, but there are still several franchise-changing players that will be available.

Madison Bumgarner, who was not traded by the Giants prior to the July 31 MLB trade deadline, will test the free agent market for the first time in his career.

Coming off a contract that saw him earn $12 million in each of the last two seasons, this winter is Bumgarner's chance to cash in.

As the 2019 season winds down, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince projected the top 20 free agents-to-be and has the Giants icon ranked No. 4 on the list.

"Despite an overall velocity decline since 2016 and a wealth of big league innings since debuting at age 19, Bumgarner has remained effective this season with increased curveball usage," Castrovince wrote. "Savvy teams might target ways to further tap into his potential as he enters his 30s, and, even in our increasingly analytical age, his pedigree is valued."

The players ranked ahead of Bumgarner are, in order, Astros ace Gerrit Cole, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon and Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.

After two injury-shortened seasons, Bumgarner stayed healthy this year and will make his 32nd start on Saturday night against the Marlins. If he makes his final two scheduled starts, he will match a career-high with 34.

In his 31 starts this season, Bumgarner has a 3.77 ERA with 184 strikeouts in 188 2/3 innings.

While those numbers are respectable, that ERA would be the worst of his career.

Still, Bumgarner holds tremendous value for any prospective team, including possibly with the Giants. Aside from freak injuries, he's a workhorse who takes the ball every fifth day without complaint.

Bumgarner has one of the most decorated postseason resumes, so perennial contenders like the Yankees and Braves would be perfect fits for the 2014 World Series MVP.

[RELATED: Bumgarner could lead NL in innings pitched]

It will be fascinating to watch the market for Bumgarner play out this offseason. Giants fans understand his value, but MLB teams might not fully appreciate what he brings to the table and undervalue him because he's 30 years old and has never won a Cy Young. But you're paying for the no-nonsense workhorse.

Our advice to interested teams? Back up the Brinks truck for Bumgarner.