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San Francisco Giants: How to approach Madison Bumgarner’s free agency

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at AT&T Park on September 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at AT&T Park on September 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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San Francisco Giants
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 13: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at Oracle Park on August 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Marc Delucchi

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.

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