San Francisco Giants: Dear Farhan Zaidi, Build Around Madison Bumgarner
By Michael Saltzman
The San Francisco Giants have had two losing seasons, a disastrous end to the 2016 playoffs, and a four-year gap between the last title run and the current roster.
It was also four years ago when San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner cemented his place in postseason history with a legendary demolition of opponents that baseball historians will write about for generations.
Bumgarner has struggled the last two seasons with injuries, and the team’s performance on the field has mirrored his struggles.
Many other core players have been hurt and their numbers have dropped as a result. This led to the firing of longtime front office man, Bobby Evans, and the general manager of the Giants since that incredible October of 2014.
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As executive Brian Sabean took a step back from the day-to-day grind of the general manager job, Evans took over, who had been his right-hand man and an assistant general manager since 2009.
This offseason, the Giants started by hiring Farhan Zaidi away from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers and giving the keys to the franchise to a man without ties to the current group of players.
That has raised speculation that the first of many moves by Zaidi might be trading the three-time World Series champ and 2014 World Series MVP Bumgarner.
It’s hard not to think that trading Bumgarner makes sense at this point. He is the most valuable asset on the team, he is still making very little money compared to other pitchers of his caliber, and he is not yet tied long-term to a contract that would hamstring teams who might be concerned about their bottom line.
Everyone from the New York Yankees to the Tampa Bay Rays could find the budget and prospects to trade for the Giants’ ace left-hander.
However, Zaidi was brought to San Francisco to build a winner, and there is no better winner in baseball right now than Bumgarner.
His ability to show laser focus and bring his best performances when the lights are brightest is bigger than any stat in today’s game.
David Price, who had a commanding performance in the 2018 postseason and is currently in the middle of a seven-year, $217 million contract, was looked at as a bust for the last few years — specifically, because of his performances in the postseason.
Bumgarner, who is only making $12 million in 2019, and becomes a free agent after the season, has never struggled in the playoffs.
For a team that feels they can make a run for the playoffs and the World Series in 2019, MadBum would be the perfect add.
That is also the exact reason the Giants must hold onto him.
No matter what the return is for the larger than life pitcher, it will not be good enough to make up for what he can bring to a team in the hunt for a championship.
If the Giants want to return to October baseball, Bumgarner must lead them to that goal.