Giants

What Aroldis Chapman contract extension means for Giants' Will Smith

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What Aroldis Chapman contract extension means for Giants' Will Smith

Giants closer Will Smith always was going to have no shortage of suitors headed into free agency this winter. That MLB-wide interest might even pick up now.

The New York Yankees reportedly agreed to a contract extension with closer Aroldis Chapman on Saturday night, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan. Chapman, who could have opted out of his contract Sunday, will remain with the Yankees through the end of 2022 and make $18 million that season after making $30 million over each of the next two seasons, according to Passan.

With Chapman remaining in pinstripes, that likely leaves Smith as the best reliever on the market. 

Smith, 30, posted a career-high 34 saves in 65 1/3 innings of work in 2019. His 2.76 ERA was the second-lowest of his career, as was his 1.03 WHIP. Smith also was an All-Star for the first time in his career. 

[RELATED: How MadBum's market is impacted by Strasburg opting out]

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic wrote last week that the Giants are considering issuing Smith a $17.8 million qualifying offer. That would take Smith just under Chapman's reported 2022 salary, but the reliever might prefer the security of a long-term contract rather than the one-year qualifying offer.

The Giants have until Monday to issue a qualifying offer to Smith. If they do, Chapman's reported extension will give Smith a lot more to think about. 

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.