Giants

What Bruce Bochy took away from final first half as Giants manager

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AP

What Bruce Bochy took away from final first half as Giants manager

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants visited Petco Park last week, four fans sat behind the visiting dugout in custom T-shirts displaying a clear message: "THANK YOU, BOCHY."

The Padres, Bochy's team before he joined the Giants, have not yet done anything significant to honor their former player and manager, but they do have time. The Giants visit San Diego again later this month. 

Some other teams have, though, and as Bochy makes one final lap of the National League, he has been greeted with a constant stream of former players, coaches, media members, scouts and others who just want to stop by the manager's office and wish him well. 

Bochy already is on the back nine of his final season, and last week, he said the first half gave him appreciation for all aspects of the game. 

"You know, I have a deeper appreciation for just coming to the ballpark, hanging around the players, the staff, the game itself," Bochy said. "You see things winding down, you do savor and appreciate it more."

The Giants are 41-48 in the final first half for Bochy, and they need 33 wins to get him to 2,000 for his career. That would be a nice way to go out, but regardless, Bochy is going out with plenty of love. At several stops, he has been given gifts (it certainly has stood out when teams don't even mention it's his final series in a city), and he has joked about all the alcohol that has been delivered to his office this season.

"Yeah, I think they've been watching how things have been going [for the team]," Bochy cracked last month. "I certainly will enjoy it. It looks like I have a problem, but I don't, trust me."

Here's the known haul so far:

--- Cincinnati Reds: They hosted the Giants in early May and were the first team to acknowledge Bochy with a pre-game tribute. Reds manager David Bell, a former Giants player and front-office employee, gave Bochy custom wine glasses, a wine carafe and a custom-made bourbon ice chest from a local company. 

"That was pretty special," Bochy told the Mercury News. "When I was a young kid, my dad was a Reds fan, which made me a Reds fan, so that was pretty cool."

--- Miami Marlins: Longtime Giants reliever Sergio Romo visited the clubhouse when the team was in Miami and gave Bochy a bottle of Don Julio 1942 tequila.

"I gave him a token of appreciation for the faith and trust that he had in me for all those years," Romo told MLB.com. "I feel I can count the amount of people that have taken a chance on me in my life on two hands, and he's on that. He's one of those fingers."

Derek Jeter, now the Marlins' CEO, also visited Bochy privately and gave him a going-away gift.

[RELATED: Bochy hoping for better second half]

--- Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles gave Bochy engraved Sagamore Spirit Rye bottles and glasses. Their manager, Brandon Hyde, is from Santa Rosa and met with Bochy for a pre-game ceremony on the field.

Hyde told Orioles beat writers that the moment was awesome for him.

"He's somebody I truly admire," Hyde said. "He's a Hall of Fame-level manager that has done a lot of great things in this game. Really cool to be on the same field as him, and I think he appreciated it. It's the least we could do."
 

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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USATSI

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.