Cole Hamels

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: 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.

Giants vs. Cubs lineups: Abiatal Avelino starts at shortstop vs. Cole Hamels

avelinous.jpg
AP

Giants vs. Cubs lineups: Abiatal Avelino starts at shortstop vs. Cole Hamels

Shortstop Brandon Crawford has played 114 of the Giants' 125 games this season. On Tuesday, he's taking the day off. 

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is using right-handed bat Abiatal Avelino against Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels. Crawford is batting just .173 in August and certainly could use a breather. 

Avelino, on the other hand, has hit .285 with 12 home runs in Triple-A for the Sacramento River Cats. The 24-year-old also has stolen 15 bases this season. 

Bochy is wheeling out a right-handed heavy lineup against Hamels, with just two lefties in the order -- Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Belt. 

[RELATED: Yaz starring for Giants after getting big league chance]

Here are the full lineups for Tuesday's game. You can follow the action on NBC Sports Bay Area or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. PT with first pitch at 5:05.

San Francisco Giants (63-62)
Donovan Solano, 2B
Mike Yastrzemski, LF
Buster Posey, C
Evan Longoria, 3B
Kevin Pillar, CF
Austin Slater, RF
Brandon Belt, 1B
Abiatal Avelino, SS
Tyler Beede, RHP (3-7, 5.77)

Chicago Cubs (66-58)
Jason Heyward, CF
Nic Castellanos, RF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Javier Baez, SS
Kyle Schwarber, LF
Jonathan Lucroy, C
Tony Kemp, 2B
Cole Hamels, LHP (6-4, 3.69 ERA)