Signing Bumgarner has multiple pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros.
First off, you have Madison Bumgarner for the rest of his career, and nobody else does. That’s a bonus right away. The other bonus is that you still have him around through the eventual turn over of the position player roster. A lasting torch from the early 2010s to the next generation of Giants, it’s perfect.
Almost too perfect. So what do you sign him up for? He’s already locked in at $12 million for 2019, and will have made $61,560,000 over his career. What could he be worth? On the open market, he could very well command close to 25 million dollars if not more. If you’re the Giants, do you want to give him that much? Honestly, if he would accept for $25 million or less, the Giants should do it for around four or five years. It takes him through his age 34 or 35 season.
But let’s look at the cons of doing such a deal, or later.
So far, Madison Bumgarner has been worth 30.7 fWAR, which, if you want to make the math out (career earnings to date divided by WAR to date), comes out to about $1.6 million “per win.”
Now, WAR is one of those things that is hard to say, “hey for every win he’s earned us, we’ve paid him about $1.6 million dollars.” 1.0 WAR doesn’t exactly equate to how many wins he’s helped the team too. It just means over his career, he’s been worth 30+ wins more than whatever the baseline is.
I think the question here though is really, “is he going to be worth the money you spend on him?” And that answer is very likely no. That’s the major drawback to signing Bumgarner to a long term deal.
He’s going to be 30 years old to enter the 2020 season, and if he can pitch 180+ innings in 2019, he will be close to 1800 innings total for his career. That’s a lot. The question that is now here in front offices is, “am I paying for what I’m getting?” That’s especially going to be the case in the new Giants front office as well. And you’re likely not going to get a Madison Bumgarner that’s worth $25 million+ AAV over the last five years of his career. If they are, obviously, I’ll be happy to eat crow. But I’m sure history will show you that very few pitchers are worth that much in the back half of their careers.
So should they sign him to an extension? Honestly, I’m in the camp that says no they shouldn’t beyond 2019, unless he is willing to play in SF at a lower price than elsewhere, just for the sake of staying in SF. Is that the case internally for Bumgarner? Not sure. Bumgarner doesn’t seem like the type that’s out for the highest dollar, a mercenary for lack of a better term. But if the Giants severely undervalue him (in his eyes), then maybe he’d want to move on. Which is also understandable.
Thankfully, this is a decision not up to you or I, because it seems like one of the most difficult. However, let’s say the Giants front office doesn’t intend on signing him long term. Why would you just hold on to him then?