It looks increasingly likely that the San Francisco Giants will hold onto ace Madison Bumgarner at the trade deadline. Could the two sides explore an extension before the season is over?
The San Francisco Giants recent surge means there’s a good chance that Madison Bumgarner will still be wearing a Giants uniform on August 1.
The veteran left-hander has been on a roll since getting shelled by the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 20,
Over his last five starts, which includes the game he had to leave early after taking a line drive off his left elbow, he’s posted a 1.55 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 34 strikeouts in 29 innings.
He might never return to the elite form we saw prior to a pair of injury-plagued seasons, but he’s awfully close right now.
Entering 2019 and for the better part of the first two months of the season, the presumption was that Bumgarner would be flipped for prospects at the trade deadline before signing elsewhere in free agency.
While the trade narrative has changed thanks to a 14-3 month of July from the Giants, his impending free agency remains.
Could the San Francisco Giants now explore an extension before he reaches the open market?
It wouldn’t be completely unprecedented.
Hunter Pence signed his five-year, $90 million extension on Sept. 29, 2013, weeks before he was set to reach free agency.
Freddy Sanchez signed his two-year, $12 million extension on Oct. 30, 2009, days before he was going to hit the open market.
Granted, we’re dealing with a new San Francisco Giants front office regime than the one that got those deals done, but there is still at least some basis for a late-season extension.
Set to turn 30 years old on Aug. 1, Bumgarner has more mileage on his arm than most pitchers his age, and that’s something that will need to be taken into consideration with regards to his next contract.
So what might a new contract look like?
According to the FanGraphs value metric, Bumgarner has been worth roughly $229.2 million over the course of his career to date. By season’s end, his career earnings will sit at $61.6 million, per Spotrac.
In other words, a raise over his current team-friendly $12 million salary would be well-deserved.
Let’s take a look at the top contracts given out to starting pitchers last offseason:
Patrick Corbin signed a six-year, $140 million deal as the top available starter.
He has less mileage on his arm, a higher strikeout rate and he put together better numbers in his contract year than Bumgarner will wind up with at the end of 2019.
Nathan Eovaldi signed a four-year, $68 million deal.
He reached the open market two years younger than Bumgarner will be this winter.
Clayton Kershaw exercised his opt-out and then re-upped with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a three-year, $93 million deal.
A similar three-year pact could make sense for both Bumgarner and the Giants. It would allow him to reach the open market again in time to secure another lucrative multi-year pact if the Giants rebuild doesn’t go as planned, while it keeps the Giants from adding another potential albatross contract to the books.
He won’t get $31 million annually, but a raise to $20 million seems reasonable.
Would a three-year, $60 million deal be enough to keep Madison Bumgarner around?
Even something in the neighborhood of a three-year, $75 million deal doesn’t seem unreasonable given the value he provides as a veteran leader to a young rotation and in an inexperienced clubhouse.
The Giants could even sweeten the pot with a fourth-year player option and a full no-trade clause, giving him further control over his immediate future.
At the very least, this seems like a reasonable starting point in negotiations, and if Bumgarner is willing to talk, there’s no reason those negotiations can’t start immediately.
With their recent run of success, the San Francisco Giants have drastically altered their short-term fate, and extending Madison Bumgarner would be a further commitment to staying competitive.