SAN DIEGO — Yes, the Giants saw that report, too.
You know the one. The Athletic mentioning, in the wake of the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes being won by the Yankees on Tuesday night, that the Dodgers are now pivoting toward Madison Bumgarner, turning their longtime enemy into a friend.
Would the Giants allow their legend to become a turncoat? Would a panicked Farhan Zaidi & Co. enter deeper into the fray to avoid the unthinkable?
Well, probably not. But they are still engaged in talks with Bumgarner’s representatives, the team’s president of baseball operations said Wednesday, after previously meeting with Team Bum at the Winter Meetings.
It sounds as if they reacted to the report with fewer pitchforks and more scrutiny.
“We are going through the process with all free agents based on where we are as an organization, what our direction is going to be,” Zaidi said from his team’s war room suite. “There’s a lot of rumors, a lot of innuendo and a lot of noise. We just have to go based on what we know and the conversations that we’re having privately.”
The possibility exists the Dodgers could drive up Bumgarner’s price. The possibility exists the Giants could drive up the Dodgers’ price. Or the Twins’, Braves’, Angels’, Diamondbacks’ — you get the idea.
With Cole off the market, Bumgarner and Hyun-jin Ryu are the top free-agent rotation jewels. The Giants said they hadn’t noticed an uptick in trade/free-agency talk since Cole landed in New York.
Bumgarner is expected to be seeking a five-year pact that could be north of $100 million. That would be a departure for both the Zaidi regime — focused on long-term success and avoiding long-term deals to a 30-year-old starter with so much wear on his arm — and the Andrew Friedman regime in Los Angeles, which favors flexibility over free-agent splashes.