MLB Free Agency

Giants owe it to Madison Bumgarner to trade him, Tim Flannery says

Giants owe it to Madison Bumgarner to trade him, Tim Flannery says

For the first three months of the MLB season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Giants would trade franchise legend Madison Bumgarner before the July 31 MLB trade deadline.

But after winning 12 of their last 14 games, the Giants all of the sudden stand just 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot, and the chatter of whether they should actually deal Bumgarner has increased exponentially.

Should they trade him anyway despite the recent hot streak? Or should they hold on to their ace and hope he can lead them to another magical October?

NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Tim Flannery, who coached Bumgarner on Bruce Bochy's staff through 2014, believes that if the Giants don’t sign their ace to a market-value contract extension right now, they have to trade him.

“If you’re going to keep him, you have to re-sign him to market value with an extension now,” Flannery told NBC Sports Bay Area. “You can’t keep him and not sign him. Free agency, as we have seen, is not working with the compensation draft pick connected to a team signing him.”

Indeed, free agency was not kind to pitchers last offseason. Both Dallas Keuchel (Atlanta Braves) and Craig Kimbrel (Chicago Cubs) had to wait until June to sign with their current clubs because of the draft pick compensation rule. Essentially, signing a marquee free agent -- like Bumgarner will be this offseason -- would cost the signing team a draft pick in the 2020 MLB draft. 

So for Bumgarner, his market could be tepid this offseason if the Giants hold on to him. But if they trade him this summer, by rule, the draft pick compensation is nullified.

“They owe it to Bumgarner to trade him,” Flannery said, noting how staying put in San Francisco without a new deal could hurt Bumgarner’s earning potential this offseason.

“Bum signed a very team-friendly contract a few years ago. He helped win three world championships and made lots of money for this organization. Now he needs to be treated with class and respect. You either sign him to an extension or trade him so he can get paid and you can get something for him.”

This trade wouldn’t just be the Giants doing charity. Dealing Bumgarner at the deadline instantly would replenish the Giants' farm system and give San Francisco something in return for its ace rather than losing him for nothing in the offseason (other than the aforementioned draft pick compensation). 

Although the Giants are surging right now and there’s optimism for ending Bochy’s last season on a high note, this current group still is not a World Series contender. Holding out hope for the pipe dream of Bumgarner putting the team on his shoulders again simply is not worth it.

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The Giants need to trade Bumgarner. It’s in Bumgarner’s best financial interest to get traded by the Giants. Barring an in-season extension, this is the only outcome that makes sense for both sides.

Bumgarner forever will be a legend at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. But as Flannery says, it’s in the best interest for all if he dons another uniform come Aug. 1.

Giants fans Smash Mouth torch Bryce Harper after Phillies fans boo him

Giants fans Smash Mouth torch Bryce Harper after Phillies fans boo him

Philadelphia Phillies fans saw Bryce Harper's face Tuesday night, and they weren't believers. Boo-lievers, maybe. 

Love was out to get him -- or that's the way it seems -- after the Citizens Bank Park crowd booed the megastar in the final home game of his first month in the City of Brotherly Love. But the years start coming and they don't stop coming for Harper, who is in the first season of a 13-year, $330 million contract he signed with the Phillies.

Harper, of course, turned down the Giants' lucrative offer this offseason. That fact, coupled with Philadelphia's classically Philly reaction, led the Bay Area-based band Smash Mouth to fire off some more takes about Harper. 

The Giants pursued Harper to the bitter end of his free agency this winter, with sources telling NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic that the club offered the 26-year-old a 12-year, $310 million contract. He decided he could use a little (extra) change, and signed with the Phillies instead. Even though the offer was shunned, the band didn't immediately think he might as well be walking on the sun.

Last month, Smash Mouth tweeted it was a "real issue" the Giants didn't have a superstar in the fold. 

That's not the way that Smash Mouth likes it, and they seem to be getting bored. The Giants entered Wednesday sitting in last place in the NL West with a 12-18 record, while Harper's Phillies began the day in first place in the NL East (16-13). They improved to 17-13 with a win over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, despite Harper finishing the night 0-for-4. 

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Smash Mouth is just asking what the use is in trying if all Harper gets is pain, since he wanted sunshine and all he's gotten is rain. Harper is batting .231 after his first 30 games with the Phillies, with six home runs and 20 RBI. 

That brought out the boo birds in Philadelphia on Tuesday, and Smash Mouth thinks Harper could've gotten away from that place by coming to San Francisco instead. After all, only shooting stars break the mold.

MLB rumors: Giants target Carlos Gonzalez, Indians 'close' on contract


MLB rumors: Giants target Carlos Gonzalez, Indians 'close' on contract

Carlos Gonzalez might have been a fit with the Giants, but he's not coming to San Francisco.

The free-agent outfielder is "close to a deal" with the Cleveland Indians, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Saturday.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that Gonzalez will receive a minor league contract from Cleveland.

Gonzalez's agent, Scott Boras, revealed last week that he had spoken to Farhan Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operations, about the 33-year-old.

"He has an .800 OPS and the best defensive player in right field, and I can tell you, he can substantially help the Giants and many other teams," Boras said on KNBR 680 at the time.

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic wrote, it appears the Giants' opening day outfield will consist of Mac Williamson, Steven Duggar and Gerardo Parra. Cameron Maybin, Austin Slater and Drew Ferguson also are in the mix, while prospect Chris Shaw will start the season in the minor leagues.

So, it appears Boras didn't do a good enough job convincing Zaidi that Gonzalez could help the Giants.