The Dark Horse Contenders
The following teams have either already made some improvements to their starting rotation, or have not really been linked to Bumgarner on the rumor mill. However, the need for starting pitching is still there if they’re going to make a deep playoff run.
The Atlanta Braves would have easily been legitimate contenders for Bumgarner if they hadn’t just signed 2015 Cy Young Winner Dallas Keuchel.
Nevertheless, the Braves were heavily linked to Bumgarner during the offseason, so there’s at least some level of established interest. The Braves are already just renting Keuchel on a one-year deal, so perhaps they would be open to the idea of another rental arm. With a payroll right around league average, they can definitely fit Bumgarner’s under-market contract on the books.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox could certainly make a push to put the 2014 World Series MVP on the bump at Fenway Park.
With the New York Yankees also speculated as serious contenders for Bumgarner this summer, the Red Sox would not only be improving their own rotation depth but also keeping him out of the hands of their biggest rival.
The Red Sox rotation has been beset by injuries this season and has been inconsistent at best behind the duo of Chris Sale and David Price atop the staff, so Bumgarner would be a welcome addition.
The issue here might be the return package. The Red Sox have one of the weakest farm systems in baseball, and it might be hard for them to put together a competitive offer with so many teams expected to be in the market.