PHILADELPHIA - On Friday afternoon, as Madison Bumgarner began throwing a bullpen session at Petco Park, Bruce Bochy emerged from the dugout and made the long walk to the bullpen entrance in the center field wall. Bochy watched Bumgarner pitch and then sat with his ace and the Giants' pitching coaches for a few minutes.
This is the time of year when you never quite know what's going to happen, and there were plenty of signs in recent days that team employees were soaking up every day with Bumgarner, just in case. With just two days until the deadline, however, it seems those nostalgic moments will not be the final ones.
The Giants have not made any final decisions and continue to take and make calls, but according to multiple team sources, the feel within the organization and clubhouse is that Bumgarner will not get dealt. Bumgarner is said to be optimistic he will be a Giant after the 4 p.m. deadline on July 31.
That's not to say that this team will be intact, though. Members of the organization told NBC Sports Bay Area over the weekend that while players are confident Bumgarner will remain, there still is a fear that one or more relievers will be traded. The bullpen is deep, and the Giants feel they can fill holes elsewhere by dealing some of that surplus.
The decision ultimately is up to Farhan Zaidi, and he has repeatedly talked of honoring the run this team is on. The Giants have won 19 of their past 24 games and enter the off day 2 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot. Some in the organization believe Zaidi will try to play both sides, keeping his ace while dealing from the bullpen to help future rosters.
The Giants have plenty of depth in the bullpen and Will Smith, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson all have drawn interest. With Drew Pomeranz throwing well and Sam Selman and Fernando Abad down in Triple-A, the Giants could afford to trade a veteran lefty and fill the hole internally.
There's no way to fill a Bumgarner-sized gap, and that's the one move some team officials have worried could torpedo this run. That would be putting the white flag up, and the Giants don't want to do that. Barring a monumental offer, the Giants seem poised to let him their longtime ace try to lead this charge, and while Bumgarner has avoided talking about the situation publicly, he certainly knows the math has changed.
"It's been a pretty clear message we've created over the last month or so," he said Sunday.