The more I see of Madison Bumgarner during his recent run of success, the more I believe he is really beginning to return to his old form. Over his last 11 starts, he has a 2.91 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with 70 strikeouts in 68 innings.
Prior to that strong stretch, I was expecting his market to be in the 2-3 year range at $10-15 million per year.
Obviously, close to peak Bumgarner would likely command something around the six-year, $140 million contract that Patrick Corbin signed last offseason.
If three or four teams believe that Bumgarner is in fact back, the market could get to that level and I would be skittish. However, based on the fact that no one was compelled to make the San Francisco Giants an offer the couldn’t refuse at the deadline, I expect the market to be a bit quieter.
Since he’s already 30 years old with plenty of innings on his arm, I’d shoot for fewer years at a higher average annual cost.
I’d start with an offer around three years and $80 million and set up negotiations to put a premium on years. My max offer would be something like three years and $90 million, four years and $105 million or five years and $115 million.
Just typing out that five-year deal makes me nervous, even though I actually believe in his return to form. That said, you have to pay a premium to get good players. Aside from his on-field performance, Bumgarner seems like a legitimate clubhouse leader and he’s obviously one of the faces of the franchise.
Not long ago, it looked like Bumgarner could be headed for a Dallas Keuchel situation if he wasn’t careful. Now, I’m just curious to see what other teams make of his recent performance, and how that will impact his market.