The New York Yankees reeled in a former SF Giants lefty in Carlos Rodón to a six-year, $162 million deal this past winter. Unfortunately, Yankees fans will have to wait to see Rodón on the mound as he continues to deal with a back ailment, but could this lead to New York adding Madison Bumgarner?
Heyman: New York Yankees "seem like a candidate" for former SF Giants lefty
Jon Heyman of the New York Post speculates that the Yankees could be a landing spot for Bumgarner, citing his longstanding ties with former Giants general manager Brian Sabean:
"With the Yankees’ rotation injuries (and former Giants GM Brian Sabean in their front office now), they seem like a candidate to consider Madison Bumgarner, but Yankees people appear lukewarm at best. … "- Jon Heyman
The Yankees have really been bitten by the injury bug in the early going. Currently, Josh Donaldson, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Frankie Montas, and Luis Severino are all on the injured list along with Rodón.
Despite having an ace in Gerrit Cole, the Yankees' rotation has posted a 4.30 ERA in 2023, which is the 16th-best mark in baseball. Cole has been the lone bright spot in the starting rotation as every other starting pitcher has an ERA above four.
The rotation looks especially vulnerable just six weeks into the season. And, for a team that has playoff aspirations, a middling starting unit will not cut it.
Could Bumgarner help them out? We explored whether he would be a fit for the Giants and we just do not see it. The left-handed hurler just is not the same pitcher he was earlier in his career when he notched four All-Star selections and built a legacy as one of the most dominant postseason pitchers ever.
He signed a five-year, $85 million pact with the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2019 season. The 33-year-old struggled mightily through the duration of that deal, posting a 5.23 ERA, 5.18 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, and a 2.38 SO/W ratio in 69 starts before the Diamondbacks decided to cut ties just weeks into the fourth year of that deal.
It is hard to ignore that his fastball velocity has regressed noticeably in recent years while the innings continue to pile up. Few pitchers have tallied more innings (2,209) than Bumgarner since he debuted way back in 2009. You only have so many innings in your arm, and unfortunately, his best innings are way behind him.
With that being said, Bumgarner's ties to former Giants front office executive Brian Sabean could pave the way for another chance. Plus, despite the lefty's struggles, he still have proven to be a relative durable pitcher, making 30 starts and eclipsing 150 innings as recently as last season.
That could have value to a team that really just needs better luck in terms of health. I will admit that Bumgarner would be an odd fit for New York's culture, but he is not really in a position to choose at this point in his career. Heyman indicates that the Yankees' interest in him is "lukewarm" and I would have to guess that the feeling is mutual. However, he may not have many more opportunities to pitch in the majors, so the next opportunity is still the best opportunity.