Madison Bumgarner has been a great San Francisco Giant for many years, but it’s time for the organization to get what they can for the dominant lefty.
It’s time for the Giants to get serious about why they are as a franchise. Some people inside the organization may harbor hopes of contending for an NL West crown, but that’s a fool’s errand. It’s time for San Francisco to start pivoting towards the future.
That’s not news Madison Bumgarner fans in the Bay area want to hear, but it’s the harsh truth facing Farhan Zaidi and company this winter. Bumgarner isn’t the right age to be a key piece of the next Giants team in playoff contention. That’s why the Giants need to start aggressively shopping him as soon as possible.
It’s important to note that the talented southpaw is in the last year of the team-friendly contract he signed back in 2013. Incredibly, he’s only slated to make $12 million this season. Unfortunately for the Giants, he’ll hit free agency next winter at the age of 30.
If he gets to free agency before the 2020 season he’s going to be in line for a massive payday. The Giants might have the money to satisfy his demands, but it would be a poor contract for Zaidi to hand out. He should be doing everything he can to acquire young talent who can help this team contend for the next decade. Handing a massive contract to Bumgarner at age 30 would be too big of a risk for the Giants to take on.
If they aren’t going to keep Bumgarner in a Giants uniform for life, now is the best possible time to trade him. There will be some temptation to hold on to him to see how the team starts the 2019 campaign, but that will depress what they’re able to get for Bumgarner in a trade. They could still get a decent return for him ahead of the Trade Deadline, but teams are too smart to give up their entire farm system for a likely rental.
Teams are, however, willing to pay a massive price to acquire a full season of potential ace-level production. Any team looking to swing a deal for Bumgarner will believe they have the requisite talent and money to re-sign him next winter. In short, the concept of Bumgarner being just a rental can be severely mitigated by dealing him now.
We’re not suggesting the Giants simply give Bumgarner away. They should be looking for a better package than the Mariners received in the James Paxton trade. Seattle got one premium prospect from the Yankees, but San Francisco would be in a position to ask for a pair of top-five prospects from the team looking to make a deal.
That kind of prospect haul could significantly speed up the rebuild in San Francisco’s future. In a perfect world, the Giants could bring back two Major League ready players who could get them right back into the mix for a playoff berth in the next season or two. None of that is possible if the team just keeps the status quo with Bumgarner. Dealing him this offseason is the right move for a franchise in serious need of a roster overhaul.