Madison Bumgarner is the best pitcher available on the market right now. Rumors have been flying left and right about possible destinations, but no potential trades have materialized. On Saturday, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Bumgarner’s no-trade list, which includes several legitimate World Series contenders.
As Rosenthal notes, this list isn’t about Bumgarner’s true preferences, but rather a negotiation tactic in his discussions with the Giants about possibly leaving the organization. Rosenthal later explained that Bumgarner’s contract allows him to block trades to eight teams.
The end result is that this list doesn’t indicate where Bumgarner’s true feelings lie. While he’s had a great run in San Francisco, it’s growing more apparent by the day the Giants would be better served trading Bumgarner for a decent return. From what Rosenthal has said, this list isn’t a grouping of teams Bumgarner wouldn’t go to, but rather teams who he’d require compensation from to wave his no-trade clause in order to get the deal done.
It’s a smart negotiation tactic, because all the teams on his list would fight to be first in line to start trade talks with San Francisco. As the situation develops, I’d put my money on Bumgarner ending up waiving his no-trade clause and heads to one of the teams on his list, since they’re the ones most likely to give Bumgarner an incentive to waive his no-trade clause. He is in the last year of a five-year, $35 million contract that will pay him $12 million this year.