Despite getting injured in a freak accident a year ago and seeing his pitching decline just a bit through the last few years, Madison Bumgarner is still one of baseball’s most sought-after starters with the trade deadline approaching.
However, despite a recent upward trend by the Giants that now sees them near .500 after winning five in a row entering Thursday, they’re still expected to be sellers in what’s still a rebuilding season in San Francisco, and their biggest trade piece is still the soon-to-be 30-year-old Bumgarner.
Bumgarner is 5-7 in 20 starts this season, carrying a 3.86 ERA while tossing 121 strikeouts in 116.2 innings pitched so far this season.
For a pitcher who just about to only turn 30, he’s gained a lot of miles already, quickly approaching the 2,000 innings pitched mark – he’s currently at 1,755. He had a six-year streak between 2011 through 2016 where he pitched over 200 innings per season.
He’s looked better as of late, highlighted by his seemingly throwback-style 11-strikeout in six-inning performance against the Rockies on June 25th.
Maybe a change of scenery will help Bumgarner return to his All-Star form from the middle of the decade, but the Giants won’t let him go for nothing. And for those saying they won’t trade him, they already tried to do it a month ago.
Here are three of the most likely destinations for Madison Bumgarner during this month’s trade deadline.
There is something about star pitchers going to a hot Astros team and winning. Bumgarner could be the second coming of Justin Verlander if he gets traded to Houston. He could have the same impact that Verlander had on the team back when he was traded over in 2017 and the Astros seem to be on pace for another World Series run. A trade for Bumgarner could all but lock up the American League and maybe another World Series title for Houston.
The Brewers came within a game of reaching the World Series last year, losing to the Dodgers in Game 7 of the NLCS. In their attempt at redemption, and their first World Series appearance since 1982 (their first and only one), Bumgarner could have a similar effect here as he would with the previously mentioned Astros. The Brewers currently just have one starter with more than 10 wins – Brandon Woodruff, who is 11-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 19 starts. Bumgarner would also bring valuable playoff experience to a team that just returned to the postseason last year for the first time since 2011.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have numerous options they could go when it comes to going after another, needed, starter. If they go after Bumgarner, which has been talked about all over New York City for over a year now, they’re getting a World Series vet and another left-hander to their rotation, alongside both newcomer James Paxton and veteran CC Sabathia. The Yankees certainly have all the trade chips possible, but it really depends how much the Giants will ask for in return – the biggest chip potentially being outfielder Clint Frazier. Also, as the Yankees are on Bumgarner’s no-trade list, he could reject the trade easily if he doesn’t want to go to the Bronx, or if he doesn’t want to shave the beard for the Yankees.