Giants, Bumgarner not talking extension yet

Giants, Bumgarner not talking extension yet

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants ace Madison Bumgarner said Monday that club management has not begun talks regarding a contract extension that likely would make him the highest-paid player in franchise history.

A reporter jokingly reminded Bumgarner that the Giants have frequently broken news at the annual Play Ball luncheon held shortly before the regular season starts.

"If there's something like that with me, it's going to start after today, because there ain't nothin' happened yet," Bumgarner said Monday as pitchers and catchers reported to Giants camp.

Bumgarner could command close to the $35.5 million that Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw will receive this year, which would dwarf the $20 million-plus earned by catcher Buster Posey and right-handers Matt Cain and Johnny Cueto, the team's highest-salaried players.

Much could depend on what happens with Bumgarner's teammates. Cueto can opt out of his six-year, $130 million deal after this season; he'd receive a $5 million buyout in that event. Cain is playing for his next contract, as the Giants hold a $21 million option on his services for 2018. They could decline to pay Cain this sum and instead give him a $7.5 million buyout.

Bumgarner would gain leverage if Cueto leaves, since that would leave the Giants without a second ace-quality pitcher. They would increase their spending power if they buy out either Cueto or Cain. None of this intrigue is likely to unfold until after the 2017 World Series.

Bochy on Bumgarner's attitude


Perhaps baseball's biggest bargain, Bumgarner will earn $11.5 million this season and is guaranteed $12 million next year. But money wasn't on his mind after he underwent his physical examination, which was Monday's primary activity as pitchers and catchers reported to camp.

Bumgarner implied that he felt eager for baseball to begin after taking a six-week offseason break. "I was ready to get back to it," said Bumgarner, whose 93 victories since 2011 are the fourth-most in the Major Leagues, behind only Washington's Max Scherzer (104), Kershaw (100) and Arizona's Zack Greinke (95).

Bumgarner, whose listed weight in last year's media guide was 250, said he lost five pounds during the offseason by giving up sweet tea and mixing sugar into his coffee.

Bumgarner finished 15-9 last year despite the bullpen blowing a handful of leads he gave it. Not surprisingly, he welcomed the Giants' signing of closer Mark Melancon.

"He's the complete package when it comes to a closer," Bumgarner said. "Not too many people throw a 90 mph slider, cutter or whatever he wants to call it that goes straight down. His control, that's the thing that gets you. You can have all the stuff you want, but if you don't have command, it's still going to be difficult for you. He has both."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.