Teams interested in trading for Madison Bumgarner need to take note of his recent performance. The Giants ace is going to be very expensive.
Last season there was a palpable sense among MLB scouts that Madison Bumgarner’s best days might be behind him. Fortunately for Giants general manager Farhan Zaidi, his talented ace has emphatically dispelled that notion this season.
Bumgarner’s 3.92 ERA in seven starts might not jump off the page at teams looking to acquire starting pitching ahead of the trade deadline, but a closer look at his performance will. The fact that the talented southpaw has rediscovered his fastball means he’s capable of pitching like an ace once again.
ESPN reporter Buster Olney points out that Bumgarner’s fastball statistics to start this year are very similar to the totals he posted back in 2015. Perhaps most importantly, his velocity has returned. Bumgarner isn’t running his fastball to the plate in the upper 90s, but his average of 91.9 miles per hour in his most recent start shows there’s still plenty of life left in his left arm.
The pitcher’s renaissance makes it very likely that he will be the most coveted trade target who will move this season. A variety of teams were already going to chase Bumgarner due to his guile and history of postseason success. Now the Giants will be in position to tout his current form as well.
That’s going to allow Zaidi and his front office to demand a huge premium in exchange for their ace. Opposing GMs will try to push the price down because Bumgarner is headed for free agency, but the Giants will be dealing from a position of extreme leverage. They should have the best asset on the trade market by a wide margin.
The interesting question becomes what can the Giants realistically hope to receive in a deal for Bumgarner. At the very least, Zaidi should be looking for multiple high-level prospects. Expect the bidding to start with San Francisco asking for an established young regular plus two premium minor leaguers.
The best case scenario for the Giants would be to deal Bumgarner for a haul during the season and then re-sign him when he hits free agency. Following the same model the Yankees utilized with Aroldis Chapman would allow Zaidi to accelerate his team’s rebuilding process.
No matter what, Bumgarner’s mini-renaissance is great news for the Giants. His return to form will help them extract maximum value from any team that wants to change their postseason fortunes by acquiring the talented southpaw.