Another team that isn’t the Giants is linked to Madison Bumgarner.
An MLB.com report Thursday cited a source saying the Cardinals may be entering the sweepstakes that already include the Twins, Reds, White Sox and Braves — who figure to be on the periphery after landing Cole Hamels for $17 million on Wednesday.
It would make sense for St. Louis, the reigning NL Central champs, to join in the hunt as the division-rival Reds have been beefing up. Cincinnati, already with a strong rotation, added Mike Moustakas on a four-year, $64 million deal this week, perhaps sensing the Central can be taken.
The Cardinals, with a rich tradition of winning, would be sensible for Bumgarner, who has long been linked with Atlanta, nearby his North Carolina home. But the Braves have spent a lot of money elsewhere, and four-fifths of their rotation is complete. All of the linked teams have an advantage on the Twins, who can’t offer Bumgarner batting opportunities in the American League. Although, money typically trumps all.
And the money should work out for Bumgarner. After Zack Wheeler’s five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies, the big lefty is in prime position for a nine-figure pact. He’s in a tier below the untapped potential of Wheeler, who’s just a year younger than Bumgarner. The Giants legend boosted his value with a solid, 200-inning 2019 after two seasons that included freak injuries.
The Giants, meanwhile, have been quiet about their desire for a reunion with a face of the organization for a decade. Farhan Zaidi has said he’ll have contact with Bumgarner’s representatives, but the perceived interest has been limited thus far. Which makes sense for a team that appears to be focusing on development rather than contention for 2020.
The Winter Meetings begin Sunday, when the hot stove — which has been plenty steaming in a nice surprise this offseason — gains heat.