The San Francisco Giants will not be the only team vying for Madison Bumgarner’s services this offseason. The Atlanta Braves appear ready to make a serious run at signing him as well.
Aside from Gerrit Cole and maybe Zack Wheeler, the most sought-after starting pitcher on this year’s free-agent market figures to be San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
It should come as no surprise then that one NL contender has already been linked to the big left-hander here in the early stages of free agency.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area offered up the following on Wednesday:
“Per league sources, the Braves have made Bumgarner a priority and planned to quickly communicate that to the left-hander. Atlanta sniffed around before the trade deadline and they are the clear favorite if Bumgarner does end up elsewhere. “
Calling someone the “clear favorite” to sign one of the free-agent market’s top players in early November is bold, and it could speak to the level of interest the Braves are already showing.
Regardless of where he signs, Bumgarner is not going to come cheap.
The 30-year-old just wrapped up an extremely team-friendly seven-year, $59 million deal, and Pavlovic made it clear that a hometown discount for the Giants is highly unlikely:
“He pitched on a below-market deal for most of his time in San Francisco, but never once complained. Still, sources close to the pitcher say there will be no hometown discount, not after the Giants paid most of their core but never locked up their ace.”
The Braves are as appealing a landing spot as any, given their back-to-back division titles and an impressive young core that should keep them in the postseason hunt for the foreseeable future.
Breakout rookie Mike Soroka will be back to front the rotation, and he’ll be joined by Mike Foltynewicz and Max Fried. However, those are the only spots on the staff that appear to be locked up.
Veteran lefty Dallas Keuchel is a free agent once again after joining the team at midseason, while longtime starter Julio Teheran joins him on the open market after having his $12 million club option declined.
Adding at least one proven starter will be a top priority for the Braves, and they have the money and contender appeal to make a serious push for anyone they decide to target.
So far, priority No. 1 seems to be Madison Bumgarner, and that could be bad news for the San Francisco Giants hopes of re-signing him.