SAN DIEGO — The Giants have met with one group of representatives for a wildly successful pitcher.
The next question may be whether they meet with a second group of representatives for a wildly successful pitcher.
The Giants have met with agent Ed Cerulo and Madison Bumgarner’s reps to suss out whether the legendary lefty will be returning to San Francisco for a 12th season on a perhaps nine-figure contract. Farhan Zaidi did not want to divulge much past that.
“We had the conversation on our end. I don’t really know beyond that,” the team’s president of baseball operations said from his Winter Meetings hotel suite Tuesday.
Bumgarner, 30, is believed to be seeking a five-year deal that could push past $100 million. Everything from Zaidi’s past indicates he would balk at a contract for that long for a pitcher with Bumgarner’s workload. Still, the Giants are at the least making a play at keeping their three-time World Series champ.
Are they doing the same with Gerrit Cole? It’s hard to tell because, well, mysteries typically take some time to untangle.
After reports emerged of a “mystery team” involved in the lucrative sweepstakes emerged Tuesday, agent Scott Boras — with a broad smile — said there are two quiet contenders for the virtually undisputed best pitcher in baseball. MLB.com reported those squads are the Giants and Astros, who would join the Yankees, Angels and Dodgers in the bidding.
Boras, also the agent of likely Giants target Nicholas Castellanos, said Zaidi indicated to him previous to the Meetings that Zaidi would first have trade work to do and then would check back with Boras. (In the hours after this comment, the Giants swung a deal for the Angels’ Zack Cozart and Will Wilson and signed Kevin Gausman.)
“I’m not going to comment on our private conversations,” Zaidi said in response to Boras commenting on their private conversations. “… But we’ve been in touch with his group.”
“In touch” is vastly different than offering a $300 million-plus megadeal. It is not likely the Giants would see Cole to the finish, but as they did with Bryce Harper, they may be investigating the final price tag.
Assuming the total scares them off, there are plenty of options for the Giants to explore as they search for another starting pitcher, from free agency (Brett Anderson, possibly) to another deal in which they absorb salary (J.A. Happ, possibly).