If and when the San Francisco Giants decide to shop free-agent-to-be Madison Bumgarner, the Philadelphia Phillies look like a logical potential landing spot.
The biggest question of this past offseason for the San Francisco Giants was whether ace Madison Bumgarner would be traded.
In the end, the Giants opted to keep their homegrown star, but that does not mean they will not entertain trading him at some point in the near future.
Many contenders figure to show interest in Bumgarner as the trade deadline approaches, and the first major rumor surrounding the left-hander came from Jon Morosi of Fox Sports earlier this month:
In the above report, Morosi noted that the Philadelphia Phillies are one team that has “already been doing due diligence” on Bumgarner this season.
Even after a busy offseason that included the additions of Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura and others, the team is still lacking a quality left-handed starter to bring some balance to an all-righty rotation.
It remains to be seen how serious the Phillies are with their early interest, but with the team clearly eyeing the playoffs after their offseason spending spree, Bumgarner is a target that makes a lot of sense.
The question for the Giants then becomes: What could the Phillies offer in return for their ace?
The Philadelphia farm system is not exactly overflowing with top-tier prospects, especially after right-hander Sixto Sanchez was sent to the Miami Marlins in the Realmuto trade.
Last year’s first-round pick Alec Bohm is currently the team’s top prospect, according to MLB.com. He ranks as the No. 50 prospect on the site’s top 100 list, while right-hander Adonis Medina (No. 73) is the only other top-100 prospect in the system.
Beyond that duo, 2017 first-round pick Adam Haseley is a polished offensive player who should hit for a high average and could be in the majors before the end of the season.
Teenage shortstop Luis Garcia might have the highest ceiling of any prospect in the Philadelphia system, but he’s also a long ways off, with a projected MLB ETA of 2022.
Right-hander Spencer Howard enjoyed a breakout 2018 season, former No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak still has some intriguing tools and pitchers like Enyel De Los Santos, Ranger Suarez and JoJo Romero are all MLB-ready or close to it.
A package built around a couple of those second-tier guys below Bohm and Medina might be enough to get talks started, assuming the Giants are targeting prospect talent. After all, Bumgarner is merely a rental, with free agency looming next offseason.
The Giants could also target some MLB-level talent.
Starter Jerad Eickhoff would make sense as a buy-low replacement for Bumgarner in the rotation with multiple years of remaining team control and some appealing upside given his past success.
Given the early struggles of Nick Pivetta, which earned him a demotion to Triple-A, the Phillies might be interested in pulling the trigger on a deal before the summer trade deadline.
In that case, the Giants would have to make a decision on whether or not to trade Bumgarner earlier than expected.
If the Giants do ultimately decide to trade Bumgarner, it will be disappointing to a large number of fans considering what Bumgarner has done for the franchise. It would also signal that the Giants are ready to turn the page on the championship core.
At this point, that might be unavoidable as they start to focus on building for the future.