The San Francisco Giants are poised to be one of the most active teams at this year’s MLB trade deadline.
Despite a 9-3 record in their last 12 games and a 4.5-game deficit in the wild-card standings, the San Francisco Giants still look like sellers as we approach the MLB trade deadline.
After all, they are still six games under .500 in last place in the NL West standings, and they have seven teams to hurdle in the wild-card standings to climb into the No. 2 spot.
With one eye already fixed on the future, a brief window of success in a rebuilding year can’t cause them to deviate from their long-term plans.
To that point, there are a number of potential trade chips on the roster, and the team has a prime opportunity to bolster the farm system over the next two weeks.
Starter Madison Bumgarner is one such trade chip.
As recently as 2016, Bumgarner was still widely regarded as one of the game’s elite pitchers. That season, he posted a career-best 2.74 ERA and career-high 10.0 K/9 while reaching 200 innings for the sixth consecutive year to finish fourth in NL Cy Young voting.
However, freak injuries in 2017 (dirt bike accident) and 2018 (line drive off pitching hand) limited him to a combined 38 starts and 240.2 innings the past two seasons.
While he’s back to 100 percent this season, he hasn’t been the same dominant force he was prior to those two injury-plagued campaigns.
Part of that has to do with the mileage on his arm.
He’s only 29 years old, but his 1,755 career innings rank 20th among active pitchers and everyone above him on that list is older. He also has another 102.1 innings of postseason work on his resume.
While he profiles better as a No. 2/3 starter on a contender at this point in his career than a legitimate ace, Bumgarner is still having a solid season.
The left-hander has a 3.86 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with 121 strikeouts in 116.2 innings, and he has tallied 13 quality starts among his 20 appearances.
So while he may no longer be a front-line arm, he’s still more than capable of piling up quality innings, and that carries plenty of value for a contender.
That said, there’s a clear ceiling on what he’ll bring back in a trade given his status as a rental. There’s also the matter of his eight-team no-trade clause:
To expand on Rosenthal’s point, Bumgarner may be able to pocket some sort of financial consideration from the Giants in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause if a trade comes together with any of those teams,
Aside from New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, Bumgarner is the best arm likely to be on the move this winter.
Moving on from a homegrown face of the franchise is never easy, and regardless of the return, a trade of Madison Bumgarner will be tough for the fan base to swallow.
Tough decisions like that are necessary at the MLB trade deadline during a rebuild, though. That’s exactly why new team president Farhan Zaidi was brought aboard to steer the San Francisco Giants ship.