MLB

After all the hubbub, Madison Bumgarner signs with Diamondbacks for a bargain

World Series hero Madison Bumgarner is working out the terms for a five-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it looks like they’ve got a great deal.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, four-time All-Star and greatest playoff pitcher of his generation Madison Bumgarner has agreed to a five-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks worth $85 million. With Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg inking long-term deals earlier this week, Bumgarner was left as the best remaining starting pitcher on the free-agent market. He was reportedly seeking a deal worth more than $100 million.

Bumgarner had spent the first 11 years of his MLB career with the San Francisco Giants, going 119-92 with a 3.13 ERA in 1,846 innings of work. He is best known for his World Series heroics, helping the Giants win three titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Bumgarner has appeared in 16 playoff games and has a 2.11 ERA in 102.1 innings. He has allowed only one run in 36 innings in the World Series and was the MVP of the 2014 NLCS and Fall Classic.

The deal with Arizona comes in well short of Bumgarner’s desired asking price and over $20 million below oft-injured Zack Wheeler’s $118-million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Bumgarner’s long track record may actually have worked against him as a free agent. He is only 30, but has already thrown nearly 2,000 innings in his MLB career. He is also coming off the worst statistical season of his career, finishing 2019 with a 3.90 ERA. Bumgarner limped to the finish, posting a 5.52 ERA in September.

For Arizona, signing Bumgarner is an interesting reversal of course for a team that just traded Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt to cut costs and advance the retooling of their farm system. Last season’s 85-77 finish, combined with the arrival of several prospects at the MLB level, must have convinced Diamondbacks management to plow some of the money saved on dealing Greinke into free agency.

The Diamondbacks look like the second-best team in the NL West, barring another round of trades and signings from the San Diego Padres. That alone sets them up to challenge for a Wild Card again in 2020. Bumgarner should be comfortable moving from San Francisco to Arizona. He’ll still get to hit, is familiar with the division and will join a rotation that features Robbie Ray and Luke Weaver. Compared to the other deals signed by free-agent pitchers this winter, Bumgarner’s deal could turn into a huge bargain over the life of the contract.

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