The San Francisco Giants decision to hire Gabe Kapler as the new manager could have a domino effect on the team’s free agency outlook.
That’s not to say that if they had gone with a different hire that Bumgarner would definitely re-sign with the team. But of all the managerial candidates the front office considered, I would imagine Kapler is the one Bumgarner would want to play for the least.
After all, Kapler is the guy who pulled Aaron Nola on Opening Day in 2018 after 5.1 innings of three-hit, one-run ball when he had only thrown 68 pitches because the numbers told him it was the right move.
If Kapler tried that on Bumgarner, there’s a very real chance the first-ever brawl between a player and manager of the same team would ensue on the pitcher’s mound.
Bruce Bochy knew exactly how long of a leash to give Bumgarner, and more often than not, it was a long one.
It’s hard to envision a scenario where Bumgarner and Kapler do not consistently butt heads over pitch counts or even the possibility of using an opener if team president Farhan Zaidi decides that’s what makes the most sense on paper.
There’s no guarantee Bumgarner would have been any more receptive to the idea of returning if it was a familiar face like Hensley Meulens or Ron Wotus taking over. But it wouldn’t have hurt their chances to have chosen someone who Bumgarner knew and was comfortable with.
Obviously, Zaidi and new general manager Scott Harris were not choosing the next manager with Bumgarner in mind. That may be a clear indication that he does not factor into their long-term plans.
In their minds, they were hired to take the San Francisco Giants out of the 2010s and into the 2020s, and with Bruce Bochy gone, scrubbing the past will only get easier from here.