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San Francisco Giants linked to pending free agent Gerrit Cole

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 25: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Minute Maid Park on June 25, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 25: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Minute Maid Park on June 25, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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It’s no secret the San Francisco Giants need starting pitching help. At least one national writer thinks they make a run at top free agent Gerrit Cole?

It’s not even September, but already rumors are starting to swirl on how the San Francisco Giants might approach free agency.

In a recent 20 questions article, Jeff Passan of ESPN addressed a number of different hot stove topics, including Houston Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole.

When asked who this winter’s best free agent will be, Passan offered up the following:

"Houston Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole. He is everything teams want in a front-line starter. Young (29 next month). Durable but not overused (on pace for his third consecutive 200-inning season but with just 1,146⅓ career innings thus far). Injury-free (no Tommy John scar on his elbow). Front-line stuff (especially the 97 mph fastball and wicked 89 mph slider). Ace performance (an AL-best 2.75 ERA with 238 strikeouts against 40 walks in 163⅔ innings).Teams that want Cole understand that he’s getting more than $200 million this offseason. How much more is the question. The record deal for a starter is David Price’s $217 million. The record per year for a pitcher is Zack Greinke’s $34.4 million (or, for the pedants who factor in the price of deferred money in Greinke’s deal, Justin Verlander’s $33 million). Cole seeking Price’s seven years at Greinke’s average annual value is not out of the realm of possibility, not with the Astros, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves all positioned and motivated to explore adding Cole."

The assessment of the Giants as a team that will be “positioned and motivated to explore adding Cole” this winter seems fair.

Veteran Jeff Samardzija will be locked into one spot on the staff and a healthy Johnny Cueto would presumably fill another.

From there, the team will be picking from some combination of Tyler Beede, Shaun Anderson, Conner Menez, Logan Webb, Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez to round out the staff unless an outside addition is made.

If the San Francisco Giants were willing to dip their toe into the Bryce Harper waters last winter, it’s not out of the question to think they could make a run at signing Cole to a massive deal.

When you consider the fact that there are just three pitching prospects ranked among the team’s top 10 on MLB.com in Logan Webb (4), Sean Hjelle (5) and Seth Corry (9), it would make sense to splurge on the pitching side of things if the front office does decide to spend big in free agency.

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For now, this is all just speculation. But hey, it’s fun to dream.

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