Madison Bumgarner is one of the biggest names on the MLB trade market, but contenders are starting to turn away from the Giants’ southpaw.
Quality starting pitching is the most precious commodity on the MLB trade market this season. In theory, that should allow the Giants to demand a high price for Madison Bumgarner. Unfortunately for San Francisco, analytics about his performance are causing interested teams to look elsewhere.
Bumgarner’s name recognition and history of playoff success are what have some teams sniffing around. It’s certainly not the way he’s pitched this season. His ERA of 4.28 in just over 96 innings pitched certainly isn’t ace material. Even so, there’s a logical argument to be made that his performance might improve if he were sent to a more competitive environment. That’s certainly what happened to Cole Hamels last year in a similar situation.
A closer look at his pitching this season reveals even more cause for concern. Bumgarner’s hard-hit rate currently sits at an alarming 42.4 percent. That’s well above the lefty’s career average of 34 percent. His improved velocity has been a real talking point for scouts watching Bumgarner this year, but there’s increasing evidence that it’s not helping him miss bats. In fact, it’s achieving the total opposite effect.
All of these numbers are bad news for the Giants. They needed Bumgarner to put up a big first half to help them demand a massive return for him in a potential trade. To date, there’s no evidence that his mediocre pitching has caused San Francisco to drop their asking price. As a result, there’s been zero movement on Bumgarner trade talks in recent weeks.
In the end, the odds still favor the veteran southpaw being moved ahead of the deadline. There’s a team out there that will be prepared to bet on his performance improving once he moves to a heated postseason race.
That doesn’t mean the Giants are going to get a treasure trove of prospects in any Bumgarner deal. At best, they’ll be able to wring one premium prospect out of any team interested in rolling the dice on MadBum. He isn’t a good enough asset to really accelerate San Francisco’s rebuild any longer.