They are now being pointed to as the most likely trade destination for Madison Bumgarner, but could the Milwaukee Brewers shape an enticing offer?
Trade rumors have lingered around San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner this offseason, with a report a month ago the team less and likely to trade the former World Series MVP. But the possibility may not be dead, with MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reporting the Milwaukee Brewers as the most likely landing spot for Bumgarner.
Bumgarner is entering the final year of his contract, and a remarkably reasonable $12 million salary for a pitcher with his resume and of his caliber. New Giants’ president Farhan Zaidi may wait until the July non-waiver trade deadline to move Bumgarner and accelerate a rebuild, but there’s risk to that approach as Bumgarner has missed time in the first half of each of the last two seasons.
The Giants are reportedly shopping relievers Will Smith and Tony Watson, so any idea a few tweaks can be made for one more run as currently constructed seems to be diminishing.
Bumgarner stands as San Francisco’s top trade chip, but can the Brewers make a deal the Giants won’t turn away from?
The Brewers have a clear need for a top of the rotation ace. Jhoulys Chacin pitched well last postseason (1.46 ERA over 12.1 innings) and would probably start Opening Day if it were tomorrow. But he’s the lone returnee from Milwaukee’s NLCS starting rotation, and without any additions there are question marks after Chacin. Jimmy Nelson is coming off missing an entire season after shoulder surgery, with young pitchers Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes would likely step into prominent roles in the starting rotation.
The Giants are notably lacking in outfield talent, and even after trading Keon Broxton to the New York Mets the Brewers have some depth there. According to MLB Pipeline, three of their top six prospects are outfielders (No.2 Corey Ray, No. 5 Tristen Lutz and No. 6 Joe Gray, with three more outfielders within their top-20 prospects and an additional three outfielders in their top-25 prospects.
Parting with multiple top prospects for one guaranteed year of someone like Bumgarner is typically not good business for a small market team. But the Brewers are in good position to make calculated, all-in moves, and the odds of a deal for the Giants’ ace stand to only grow in the coming weeks if the rumored competition (the Philadelphia Phillies) goes other direction for starting pitching.