Madison Bumgarner has established himself as an all-time great for the San Francisco Giants, but he could walk in free agency this winter.
While he has clearly established himself as a franchise icon, there comes a time in every player’s career where a change of scenery becomes a realistic possibility, and that time has come for Bumgarner.
Now on the other side of 30 and with a hard-hit ball percentage that has steadily risen from 30.1 percent in 2015 to 41.2 percent in 2019, he’s simply not the same elite starter he was in his prime.
Sometimes a change of scenery can do a player a lot of good. Just look at the season that Hunter Pence has had with the Texas Rangers.
There’s also the fact that the San Francisco Giants likely will not be a playoff-caliber team until the 2021 or 2022 season when they start to welcome more quality talent from their farm system to the big leagues.
At that point, Bumgarner could be in the twilight of his career.
Meanwhile, the Giants would have a plethora of options to address what would be a glaring hole in the starting rotation should the opt to move on from the 2014 World Series MVP.
The first option, which is probably the most likely in the short-term, would be to fill from within.
That would mean counting on guys like Logan Webb, Shaun Anderson, Tyler Beede, Dereck Rodriguez, Andrew Suarez, and sixth-ranked prospect by MLB.com Sean Hjelle to hold down rotation spots.
The San Francisco Giants will also have several intriguing options to consider in free agency, including Gerrit Cole, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Hyun-Jin Ryu to name a few. Like any free-agent class, there are also a few options that could fly under-the-radar. For a more in-depth look at what starters the Giants could target in free agency go here.
It would obviously be painful for Giants fans and players alike to see Bumgarner move on, but it’s not as doom and gloom as everyone thinks it would be.
Sometimes, a change is what everyone needs. At the end of the day, Madison Bumgarner will always be one of the best pitchers in San Francisco Giants history, and his time with the team will never be forgotten.