Despite the San Francisco Giants rise up the NL wild-card standings, teams are still calling about their biggest trade chips.
The 2019 MLB trade deadline is now a little over 24 hours away, and the latest nugget from the rumor mill has the Houston Astros showing interest in San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
With only Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley locked into rotation spots, it’s not surprising to see the Astros kicking the tires on a proven starting pitcher.
The level of interest and progression of trade talks is unclear at this time, but Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports has reported that there is at least some conversation taking place:
Already a hot commodity on the trade market, Bumgarner has only improved his stock with a strong showing of late.
In his last seven starts, he’s gone 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 47 strikeouts against just eight walks in 43 innings. On the year, he’s posted a 3.74 ERA with 140 strikeouts in 139.2 innings over 23 starts.
Those stellar numbers over the past month and the team’s recent hot streak means that Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi can put a lofty asking price on his ace. If someone pays up, great. If no one is willing to meet his asking price, it only improves the team’s chances at a playoff run.
In order for a deal to make sense for a suddenly contending San Francisco Giants team, the return package would need to include MLB-ready talent.
Outfielder Kyle Tucker would be the ideal piece to plug into the Giants outfield, but it’s unlikely the Astros will be open to trading him for a rental. The same goes for top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley.
Here’s what site expert Joel Reuter thinks regarding a potential return package:
"A multi-player package built around infielder Joshua Rojas could be a good starting point.The 25-year-old is hitting .316/.405/.578 with 29 doubles, 20 home runs and 31 steals this season between Double-A and Triple-A, and he could immediately be plugged in at second base as a potential upgrade over Joe Panik.He doesn’t have the highest ceiling, so it would take a few other solid pieces to get a deal done.Right-handed pitcher Bryan Abreu and Tyler Ivey are among the team’s second-tier arms behind top prospect Forrest Whitley, and they would both be welcome additions to the San Francisco system as well.Aiming even higher, the Astros were willing to part with No. 4 prospect J.B. Bukauskas in offseason trade talks, so perhaps they’d be open to a Bukauskas and Rojas for Bumgarner package if it means a better chance to win it all in 2019."
Again, there’s no reason for the Giants to settle for anything below their asking price, but with a deep system, the Astros have the pieces to put together an attractive trade package without dealing any of their marquee prospects.
Meanwhile, the Giants would have numerous options to replace Bumgarner in the rotation. Johnny Cueto is on track to return in September, while Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez are both currently in Triple-A and capable of bridging the gap.
A trade now would also not preclude the Giants from making a run at re-signing Bumgarner during the offseason, though it would be a hit to their postseason chances this year.
The San Francisco Giants have some big decisions to make in the next 24+ hours, and what to do with ace Madison Bumgarner is among the biggest.