With all the talk regarding free-agent starting pitchers such as Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Zack Wheeler, starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner is not receiving as much attention as he would in years past. However, the veteran lefty is still drawing interest from plenty of teams and should garner a fruitful contract. Bumgarner finished the 2019 season with a 9-9 record, 3.90 ERA/FIP, 8.8 K/9, 1.86 BB/9, and a career-low 35.8 percent groundball rate.
In his 11 years with the San Francisco Giants, Bumgarner compiled a 119-92 record, 3.13 ERA, and 1,704 strikeouts in 1,846 innings pitched. He was also a four-time All-Star, three-time World Series champion, World Series MVP, NLCS MVP, and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
Top Three Potential Landing Spots for Madison Bumgarner
It was believed that Bumgarner would be traded last season before the July 31st trade deadline. However, the Giants decided to hold on to their long-time ace as they tried to make a push for a spot in the NL Wild Card. This postseason push proved to be unsuccessful, and now the Giants are faced with the possibility of losing their star pitcher, without gaining any prospects. The Giants will probably attempt to make a run at Bumgarner this offseason, but at this point, it seems that Bumgarner will likely be leaving the Bay Area.
So, let’s take a look at the top three potential landing spots for Madison Bumgarner.
The Atlanta Braves enter the offseason looking to improve their starting rotation and are reportedly “prioritizing” Bumgarner. Adding Bumgarner alongside the likes of Max Fried and Mike Soroka would strengthen the Braves rotation, and it wouldn’t cost a bank-breaking amount. With Dallas Keuchel and Julio Teheran now on the free-agent market, the Braves will be looking for a capable, mid-rotation arm. Bumgarner provides exactly what Atlanta is looking for, and it seems like a reasonable fit on paper.
It has been rumored that the Braves division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies, have “checked in on Bumgarner, and likely are motivated to keep him away from the Braves.” Although, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic pointed out, “The Braves are the team closest to Bumgarner’s hometown of Hickory, N.C., and seem a more natural fit for him than the Phillies.”
“We’d like to add to the rotation in some capacity,” Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle at the general manager meetings. “Where that leads us, I don’t know yet.”
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are hoping to beef up their starting rotation and are expected to make a significant run at Bumgarner. The Yankees have also shown interest in Cole and Strasburg, but each figures to command far more than Bumgarner. Also, the Yankees will attempt to stay under the luxury-tax threshold, which might play a major role in who they decide to sign.
“I will definitely talk to Bumgarner’s agency,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “I haven’t. But I will.”
Another reason for the Yankees’ interest in Bumgarner is his postseason experience. Although the Yankees won 103 games and swept the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, they came up short against the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Adding a player of Bumgarner’s caliber could prove vital in the postseason if the Yankees hope to get back to the World Series. Although he has not pitched in the playoffs since 2016, Bumgarner is regarded as one of the best postseason performers of all time. His 0.25 ERA over three World Series is the lowest in history among pitchers with at least 25 innings.
“It’s nice to know they can pitch in October. No doubt about it,” Cashman said. “He’s been a tremendous player for a long time. We’re going to look at everybody that’s out there, obviously. Starting pitching is important, and he’s been one of the game’s better starting pitchers for a long time. So we’ll certainly have a conversation.”
San Diego Padres
Another contender in the Bumgarner sweepstakes is the San Diego Padres. The Padres have been linked to Strasburg, but Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported the team “will not be in the market” for him if the price remains high. As stated earlier, Bumgarner will be a much cheaper option than Strasburg and Cole.
Padres have interest in Madison Bumgarner. SD has also been connected to Stephen Strasburg.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 14, 2019
The young Padres rotation would certainly benefit from having a veteran of Bumgarner’s caliber in the locker room. He would also add a boost to a San Diego staff that ranked 12th in the National League with a 4.60 ERA and had 16 different players start a game.
Also, Bumgarner is familiar with PetCo Park, as he has made 17 career starts there. In those starts, he put together a 5-7 record and a 3.97 ERA.
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