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NL West Notes: Bauer, Giants, D’Backs, Arenado

“The Giants have discussed” signing Trevor Bauer, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, though this isn’t necessarily indicative of a full-fledged pursuit since “they discuss the top free agents every year.”  There are many reasons Bauer would make sense for the Giants, as Shea illustrates in his pros and cons piece, including the point that Bauer might represent a better upgrade than any of the pitching options available in the 2021-22 free agent market.

However, Shea ultimately opines that Bauer wouldn’t be an ideal fit “for a team that’s not close to championship caliber and is waiting for its top prospects to emerge over the next couple of years.”  The Giants certainly face an uphill battle in going against the Dodgers and the Padres in their division alone, though since San Francisco has to some extent overachieved over the last two seasons even while overhauling the roster, I would argue that the Giants could position themselves more firmly into the wild card hunt with some pitching upgrades, and Bauer would certainly qualify in that regard.  For what it’s worth, Bauer’s most recent YouTube video listed Giants fans fourth on his list of the fanbases that have done the best job of trying to sell him on joining their team.

More from the NL West…

  • The bulk of the Diamondbacks’ talks with other teams has focused on pitching, with rival clubs showing interest in Arizona’s starters.  The D’Backs have something of a surplus of rotation options on paper, with a projected starting five of Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver, Caleb Smith, Merrill Kelly ahead of other potential depth arms like Taylor Clarke, Alex Young or prospect Corbin Martin.  Speaking to’s Steve Gilbert and other reporters, D’Backs general manager Mike Hazen said “I think we have to be in a position to listen to what people have to say” in terms of trade offers, though “I think we’re somewhat reluctant to talk about pitching, just because of our feeling on the amount of pitching we’re going to need.”  Kelly is the most obvious question mark since he underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in September, though the right-hander was very pleased with his recovery process as of November.  Beyond Kelly, Bumgarner and Weaver each struggled last season, and while the Diamondbacks are hopeful both can bounce back, the club would surely like to have more depth on hand just in case.
  • What would Nolan Arenado earn if he was a free agent this winter?’s Buster Olney (subscription required) floated the question to some evaluators in the wake of Arenado’s disappointing 2020 season, and the results were still pretty strong — a deal worth somewhere between $100MM-$125MM.  This offers some idea that Arenado’s 2020 numbers “will likely be treated as an outlier by any interested teams” in trade talks, but also of how much of Arenado’s actual contract (six years and $199MM remaining, with an opt-out after the 2021 season) the Rockies could be asked to cover to accommodate a deal.  It just adds another layer of difficulty to any possibility that Arenado could be traded this offseason, since it seems unlikely that the Rox would be okay with eating that much money to move a player they surely consider a prize trade asset.
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