Giants: Five bold predictions for the MLB offseason
Madison Bumgarner will leave in free agency
I hope it doesn’t happen, but I think it will.
Zaidi is not beholden to the nostalgia era, and whatever numbers he pumps into his analytics machine are going to tell him that Bumgarner is not worth how much he is going to be paid.
He may even look at the examples of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and think, if only this organization wasn’t so obsessed with nostalgia, they could have avoided bad deals that ended up hurting the team when both former aces were banged up or pitching poorly.
He doesn’t want to make the same mistake with Bumgarner, even though I believe he could be an effective pitcher into his late 30s.
Zaidi can still save face though.
He can make a reasonable offer and when Bumgarner signs with the Atlanta Braves or somewhere else, he can say that the team tried their best, they wanted him back, but he wanted more money or a change of scenery, so it’s time to move on.
That would be the most cunning move, rather than a cheap offer that signals to fans that Zaidi doesn’t care about the man who helped deliver three championships to the city.
It will hurt Giants fans immensely, possibly even more than when Pablo Sandoval signed with the Boston Red Sox back in 2015. And the worst part is that it’s even more unlikely that Bumgarner will return triumphantly to the team a few years from now and regain the love of the fans.
Then again, I doubt that love will ever be lost. He could sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers and throw a perfect Game 7 next year to win them the World Series, and he’s still one of the greatest San Francisco Giants of all time.