San Francisco Should Trade P Madison Bumgarner…Stat!
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
Sometimes you have to give ground in order to gain it back. That is exactly what the San Francisco Giants must do this offseason. The franchise’s top-five payroll netted them a whopping 73 wins last season and a dismal fourth place in the ultra-competitive NL West. The time is right for the Giants to begin rebuilding the franchise and it starts with the only asset that can garner a solid return – P Madison Bumgarner.
Rebuilding Starts at the Top
The quest to return to NL West supremacy started early in the offseason with the hiring of former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi. The Dodgers won six NL West titles in a row and played in back-to-back World Series in 2017 and 2018. To fix the Giants, one of the things Zaidi must do is overhaul the Giants’ farm system. In order to do, Zaidi needs prospects and to obtain prospects the new president of baseball operations is going to have to give something up.
The Giants have some real talent on their roster. Buster Posey hit .284 last year. Shortstop Brandon Crawford is an All-Star caliber player. The problem with those two is both have full no-trade clauses. Zaidi cannot deal either player. Joe Panik hit just .254 and had four home runs. The same goes for Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria, who did not perform to expectations last year. Plus, Longoria has a giant contract that no franchise wants to take on, especially with him underperforming.
The only real bargaining chip that Zaidi has is Bumgarner. The 10-year veteran is one of baseball’s elite pitchers. He is 110-83 with a 3.03 ERA for his career. He has struggled with some freak injuries the past two seasons and has not been his usual self. Bumgarner went 4-9 in 2017 and 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA last year. He becomes a free agent after the 2019 season and his $12 million salary makes him a very attractive trade acquisition.
There are a number of teams that would be interested in a left-handed pitcher like Bumgarner. The two teams that have actually shown interest already are Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Both teams are in need of pitching, but the Brewers might be the team willing to give up more in an effort to obtain Bumgarner. Milwaukee won the NL Central Division last season and lost the NLCS to the Dodgers in seven games. The one thing the Brewers lacked was a deep starting pitching rotation. Bumgarner would change that and in return the Giants would help to rebuild their farm system with prospects from Milwaukee.
Bumgarner is 29 years old and has several years left in the tank. The injuries he suffered the past two seasons were complete flukes. Bumgarner is likely to leave after next year anyway and the Giants farm system needs work. San Francisco isn’t going to win next year in a super-competitive NL West. The Dodgers, Colorado, and Arizona should, once again, make the division a three-team race. The only sensible course of action for Zaidi is to use his best resource – Bumgarner – and build for the future.