The Legitimate Contenders
This is the group of teams has shown interest in Bumgarner already and has a clear need for starting pitching help as they push for a postseason berth. These teams also have the prospect talent to put together a suitable return package for the San Francisco Giants.
The Phillies have made it known to the world that they would like to end their seven-year playoff drought.
They signed Bryce Harper to one of the largest contracts in MLB history and then made a series of complementary moves to fill other holes on the roster. As a result, they are currently in second place in the NL East standings and a half-game back in the wild-card standings.
That makes them the perfect candidate to make a bold move to bolster a starting rotation that has been far from perfect in 2019.
Zach Eflin has been the team’s best pitcher this year, Nick Pivetta has pitched better since returning from a brief minor league promotion, and the veteran duo of Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta should be fine going forward. Still, the staff could use a left-hander and one more quality starter to solidify the rotation.
Philadelphia has already made one trade this summer to acquire Jay Bruce in an effort to add some power to the lineup in the wake of Andrew McCutchen’s injury. Why not bring in a quality starting pitcher with a proven track record of success and 18 career home runs?
In my most recent article, I identified a trade with the Brewers for top prospect Keston Hiura as a longshot at best. However, that doesn’t mean that they are not still heavily in contention to acquire Bumgarner. It just might be for a package built around a different prospect.
Even though it has been stated that the Giants will keep Bumgarner if no one meets their asking price, I find this hard to believe. The Giants simply can’t afford to have Bumgarner walk for nothing, and the Brewers were a team that was heavily linked to him this past offseason.
Gio Gonzalez has been a nice addition to the staff and Zach Davies is enjoying a breakout season, but the rest of the rotation has been average to below average. Jimmy Nelson has struggled in his return from shoulder surgery and Jhoulys Chacin has missed time to injury after posting a 5.60 ERA to start the year.
It’s a rotation in desperate need of quality starters and if the Giants stand pat with wanting Hiura in return, an approaching deadline and pressure to win the first World Series in franchise history might just make the Brewers go all-in for Bumgarner.
The Twins may be a bit of a surprise in the “legitimate contenders” category. After all, Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi have been a dominant one-two punch atop the staff this year.
However, it was recently reported by Charley Walters that there may be some legitimate traction toward a trade for Bumgarner:
A Bumgarner trade does make sense, though, considering that the rest of the rotation beyond Berrios and Odorizzi has been average at best. Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez are both capable of being solid options, but Michael Pineda has been the obvious weak link
This can be a win-win situation as the Twins have one of the better farm systems in baseball, led by MLB.com Prospect Pipeline Top 50 prospects like Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. By adding Bumgarner, the current AL Central leaders could boast one of the best rotations in baseball, while the San Francisco Giants would stand to add some quality prospect talent from a deep system.