Atlanta Braves

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner has interest from seven teams

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner has interest from seven teams

Madison Bumgarner debuted for the Giants on Sept. 8, 2009. He has known one team his entire career, and the 30-year-old is revered as a franchise hero. 

The big question now is, will he find a new home this offseason in free agency or return to San Francisco? President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made it clear on Monday during Winter Meetings Live that the Giants still are in the Bumgarner market

"We're involved in those discussions," Zaidi said. "We're planning to meet with his representatives this week and they have other meetings scheduled, too. That's what happens when a player is a free agent, they're going to explore all their options. Guys are looking for different things, looking for maybe a particular geography, maybe a team in a specific part of their competitive cycle.

"We're one of the suitors. We're just going to put our best foot forward and see what happens, but he's earned this opportunity to be a free agent and, as we expected, there's no shortage of interest in a guy with his pedigree."

Zaidi knows the Giants will have competition when it comes to re-signing Bumgarner, and it appears his market is growing. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Monday night that outside of the Giants, there are seven teams linked to MadBum: The Braves, Cardinals, Reds, D'backs, Angels, Twins and Yankees. 

There aren't too many surprises in that group, but the D'backs seem to be the new team in the mix. The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly stated the location could make sense as Bumgarner has horses in Phoenix, and Heyman says Arizona already has made a light offer to the left-hander. 

[RELATED: Report: Giants seen as top bidder for slugger Castellanos]

Bumgarner's asking price could be on the rise, and it will be interesting to see what kind of deals teams send his way. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Monday that teams are being told Bumgarner is looking for a deal worth at least $100 million over five years. That seems increasingly likely with Zack Wheeler joining the Phillies on a $118 million contract. 

Multiple teams reportedly are in on the former World Series hero. The Giants might get the last call, but there's a chance Bumgarner is off the board by the time the Winter Meetings end Thursday.

MLB rumors: Giants pursued Cole Hamels before pitcher agreed with Braves

MLB rumors: Giants pursued Cole Hamels before pitcher agreed with Braves

The Giants' starting rotation currently consists of two veterans in Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, with a handful of young question marks behind them. It looks like the front office is eyeing another veteran presence. 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday that the Giants pursued veteran free-agent pitcher Cole Hamels before the left-hander agreed to a one-year, $18 million contract with the Braves. 

Signing a veteran to a hefty contract could come as a surprise with the Giants' desire to get younger. But it really shouldn't, considering what the Giants did last season with the lefty Drew Pomeranz

If the Giants find themselves well behind in the standings at the July 31 MLB trade deadline this season, they would love to add future talent once again. San Francisco acquired a barrage of prospects at the deadline last season, including Mauricio Dubon -- who looks like the everyday second baseman -- from the Brewers in the Pomeranz trade. 

Hamels also would have given the Giants a needed left-hander in the rotation. Perhaps lefty Tyler Anderson, whom the Giants agreed to terms with Tuesday after non-tendering him, could fill that void. 

Atlanta adding Hamels reportedly also doesn't take them out of the market for another lefty -- longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday that the Braves are not out of the race to sign MadBum. 

[RELATED: Would Giants wait all the way until January to sign Cole?]

While the Giants might not re-sign Bumgarner or add a big name like Gerrit Cole this offseason, it will be interesting to see which veteran free-agent pitchers they pursue in the coming weeks.

MLB free agency: What Madison Bumgarner's market looks like early on

MLB free agency: What Madison Bumgarner's market looks like early on

SAN FRANCISCO -- The free-agent market has moved faster than it did a year ago, with Will Smith signing in Atlanta right before the qualifying offer deadline and Yasmani Grandal getting a four-year deal from the White Sox this week. But all has been quiet thus far for the biggest names in the starting pitching market, including Madison Bumgarner. 

The longtime Giants ace turned down the qualifying offer as expected and has been the subject of a few rumors, but nothing substantial enough to indicate a deal is close. During an interview on the "TK Show" this week, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said he thinks the process will drag out a bit. 

"We've at least expressed interest and I think they're going to take their time with this process and obviously Madison has earned the right to free agency and to explore all his options," Zaidi told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. "I think they're going to be pretty methodical with it and we respect that, but we'll maintain contact."

Others have been in contact, particularly during the GM Meetings last week. Here's how Bumgarner's market is shaping up through the first three weeks of his first foray into free agency:

Giants

Gabe Kapler said earlier this week that he hasn't spoken to Bumgarner yet, but that's not a big deal. Even when he was employed by the Giants, teammates and friends joked about how hard it was to reach Bumgarner in the offseason.

Bumgarner was curious to see who Bruce Bochy's replacement would be, and it's easy to say the fit with Kapler would be less than ideal. They are on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to a lot of how they think about the game, but ultimately Bumgarner just wants to win, so the evaluation process would simply be about how quickly he thinks Kapler could get him back to the postseason.

As I've written a few times already, most people within the building feel that Bumgarner will be playing elsewhere next season. But there's always that chance his market dries up and Bumgarner's best option is to come back to San Francisco. 

Braves

The connection was there even before Smith signed with the Braves. When he was introduced to the media in Atlanta, Smith was asked about reuniting with Bumgarner.

"I don't know, maybe. We'll see," he told reporters. "That'd be great, especially with the kind of talent he is. But we'll see what they've got."

The Braves had interest in Bumgarner before the deadline, sources have told NBC Sports Bay Area, and they planned to make a push for him in free agency. That's basically the same way they felt about Smith, and they got that done. The Braves remain the cleanest fit if Bumgarner is not wearing orange and black. 

Yankees

Speaking of clean fits, this team isn't it. But, the Yankees have shown some interest. 

"I will definitely talk to Bumgarner's agency," Yankees GM Brian Cashman told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. 

The Yankees could use another starter for the postseason and they're relatively close to Bumgarner's offseason home in North Carolina. But, playing in the American League would take the bat out of Bumgarner's hands, which figures to be a bigger deal to him than any other pitcher. 

Phillies

The best case for Bumgarner and his representatives? That would be getting two NL East rivals -- who just watched the Nationals win a World Series -- involved in a bidding war. 

The Phillies had interest in Bumgarner in the past and they are at it once again, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. 

[RELATED: Time for Giants to kick tires on Rendon?]

Padres

A dark horse, and they're truly fascinating. The Padres looked like an ideal trade deadline destination before their hot start wore off, and Bumgarner did his due diligence about their organization when it appeared he might end up there. 

The Padres offer a division he knows, a rotation that needs a workhorse ahead of Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet and all the young starters they have coming through the minors, a ballpark that's often filled with Giants fans and an intriguing roster that should be in the postseason race. 

They were connected to Stephen Strasburg earlier in the offseason but Bumgarner would come cheaper, and they have interest: 

The fit is there. Plus, Bumgarner might be reunited with Bochy in a year.

(Kidding! Sort of.)