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San Francisco Giants: Building a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants poses during the Giants Photo Day on February 21, 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants poses during the Giants Photo Day on February 21, 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 31: Corbin Burnes #39 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on March 31, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 31: Corbin Burnes #39 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on March 31, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

San Francisco Giants Trade Proposal #1

To Brewers: LHP Madison Bumgarner
To Giants: RHP Corbin Burnes, SS Mauricio Dubon, OF Je’von Ward

Everyone knows longtime San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has the best resume of any starting pitcher available this summer and that he is likely on the move. I’ve already looked at his potential fit with the Phillies, Yankees, Twins, and Astros.

The closest recent trade comparison to Bumgarner seems to be Yu Darvish when he was traded from the Rangers to Dodgers a couple of summers ago. Both have performed as aces but were not quite pitching at an ace level when they hit the trade block.

The Dodgers traded Willie Calhoun, a consensus top-100 prospect at the time, alongside A.J. Alexy (who became a top-20 prospect in the Texas system), and Brendon Davis (who became a top-30 prospect in the Texas system).

Among current Brewers prospects, Keston Hiura, Tristen Lutz, Corey Ray, and Brice Turang have all been ranked in top 100 lists.

The Giants probably don’t have the assets to acquire Hiura, even if they added to a Bumgarner package, while Ray has performed so poorly at Triple-A that his prospect status has taken a huge step backward. In their most recent update, FanGraphs did not even give him 45 Future Value.

Turang and Lutz could both be centerpieces, but I think Milwaukee will try hard to hold onto both, especially Turang. Lutz may make sense, but I think he’s more likely to be included in another trade—more on that in a bit.

If the Brewers won’t part with one of their top 100 prospects, they’ll have to make up for it in the overall depth of the trade package. Corbin Burnes and Mauricio Dubon probably would have been enough to get Bumgarner before the season started.

Burnes, a right-handed pitcher, finished last year strong while pitching out of the Milwaukee bullpen, and there were hopes he would emerge as a legitimate mid-rotation arm this year.

Instead, this season has been a roller coaster for Burnes, to the point that he has already been relegated back to the bullpen. His strikeout and walk numbers still are impressive, but he’s given up a lot of loud contact. He still has some of the highest spin-rates in baseball and there is still reason to believe some minor adjustment and a small step forward with his command could still make him a mid-rotation starter. The Brewers aren’t in a position to be patient, though.

Dubon looked like the next in line to man the Brewers’ middle infield last season, but after tearing his ACL in May he missed the remainder of the season. He has since returned to Triple-A and is putting up a respectable .301/.335/.457 line in the Pacific Coast League. He’s an above-average defender at shortstop but has also handled second base well. With the emergence of Hiura, Dubon has become expendable.

Rounding out the package is 19-year-old outfielder Je’Von Ward.

A 12th-round pick in 2017, he signed for an above-slot $475,000 bonus. Speed is his best present tool and he covers ground well in center field. There is some power potential, but he will need to adjust a swing that is currently geared toward putting the ball in play. As is, he projects as a soft-hitting fourth outfielder who might have an everyday ceiling.

Bumgarner would add some welcome stability to the Brewers rotation alongside Brandon Woodruff and Gio Gonzalez. Burnes and Dubon could play through their growing pains with the Giants, while Ward would be an intriguing addition to the lower levels of the minor leagues.

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