San Francisco Giants: Potential replacements if Madison Bumgarner walks
Marquee free agents
While in-house options and mid-level free agents will certainly be in play, it’s the marquee names on the free-agent market that will dominate the headlines.
The prize of the offseason will be Houston Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole.
The 28-year-old is having a Cy Young-caliber season with a 2.87 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and an AL-leading 226 strikeouts in 156.2 innings.
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Even with a good chunk of money to spend, the Giants might think twice before offering up what it’s going to cost to sign Cole. Given his age, track record and status as the top arm on the market, he’ll have no trouble blowing past the six-year, $140 million deal that Patrick Corbin signed last winter.
Still, it’s fun to think about shortstop Brandon Crawford having an opportunity to play with his brother-in-law, and the Giants having a chance to add an ace to the staff.
New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler will also demand a hefty payday, despite his injury track record.
Originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants with the No. 6 pick in the 2009 draft, Wheeler was traded to the Mets in exchange for Carlos Beltran at the 2011 trade deadline. He has a 3.77 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 in 52 starts since the beginning of last season when he finally returned to full health.
The X-factor on the pitching market is Stephen Strasburg, who can opt-out of the final four years of his current contract with the Washington Nationals.
Oh, and there’s one more option.
The San Francisco Giants could always just pay whatever it costs to keep Madison Bumgarner around.
Regardless, this offseason is going to be an adventure. At the very least, the San Francisco Giants have options should one of the faces of their franchise decide to leave.