News came out Thursday morning that the Arizona Diamondbacks are pulling the plug on the Madison Bumgarner Experiment. The club has designated the SF Giants legend for assignment and is slated to eat the remaining $37M on his contract.
Arizona Diamondbacks DFA SF Giants legend Madison Bumgarner
For Bumgarner, this is just the cherry on top for what has been an awful past few years for him. His Diamondbacks career will ultimately span four seasons (out of a possible five years) in which he went 15-32 with a 5.23 ERA, 5.18 FIP and 80 ERA+. Through and through, he has been a shell of the pitcher he once was.
Granted, he was absolutely not playing on a contending team while in Arizona. After consistently being a part of championship-caliber teams on the Giants, he chose to sign an $85M contract with a team he knew would not be anywhere close to contention anytime soon.
For Bumgarner, his name lives on in the hearts of Giants fans everywhere. Nobody ever wanted to see him struggle to this extent, even if it was while suiting up for a division rival.
His career began all the way back in 2009 when he was just 19-years-old. He seemed to get better every single season after that and gave the Giants a true ace-like pitcher atop their rotation. His best stretch of play, of course, was from 2013-2017 when he had a 2.91 ERA across 147 starts, including a 129 ERA+ and one of the best postseason performances the game has ever seen.
After being nearly unhittable in the Wild Card Game, NLDS and NLCS, the menacing southpaw pitched 21 innings in the 2014 World Series, one the Giants won over the Royals in large part thanks to him. Bumgarner became the only pitcher ever to record two wins, a complete game shutout and a save in the same World Series. This stretch of play was almost unfathomably good. He struck out 17 batters and walked only one while allowing just a single earned run on a solo home run.
All told, Bumgarner is one of the best pitchers to ever do it for the Giants. He threw 15 complete games across 11 seasons for the club, made four (consecutive) All-Star Game appearances, finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting four times and will also forever be remembered as one of the best hitting pitchers in MLB history.
It's a shame to see things come to an end for him so early in Arizona. Even through his struggles, a release always felt like something the club would wait to do until there was just one year left on the deal. Instead, the 33-year-old (I can't believe he's still only 33) will hit the open market once again and should be able to latch on with another club in short order. He feels like a solid "catch lightning in a bottle" type of signing for teams in need of a veteran arm on their staff.