Madison Bumgarner has submitted an interesting no-trade list, but those eight teams should not be discouraged.
As a free agent after the season on a team that’s 16-23 entering Sunday (last place in the NL West, 8.5 games back), San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner is one of the most obvious trade candidates out there.
A Bumgarner trade is unlikely right now, since it’s still pretty early. But looking toward the July 31 deadline, the 2014 World Series MVP has submitted an eight-team no-trade list.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are the list of teams Bumgarner can block a trade to.
Three of those teams are division leaders (Astros, Cubs, Phillies), and the remaining five are no more than four games back of a division lead. The Brewers and Phillies have had rumored interest in Bumgarner off and on dating back to the offseason, so they are still perhaps at the front of the line to make a deal.
The Minnesota Twins, who are threatening to run away with the AL Central and are not on Bumgarner’s list, should be a serious suitor too.
It may seem odd that Bumgarner can even block a trade, and it might be ridiculous to include most of the best teams in baseball on a no-trade list. But he’s contractually allowed to submit a no-trade list, and the teams he has on the list should not be dismayed if they have interest.
Bumgarner missed significant time to injury in both 2017 and 2018. But he’s been healthy so far this year, and he’s got a 3.99 ERA and good peripherals (9.2 K/9, 1.4 BB/9) while recapturing a little bit of fastball velocity. He is scheduled to start Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds.
Via FanGraphs, Bumgarner has notable altered his pitch mix. He’s throwing his fastball nearly eight percent more than he did in 2018 (42.0 percent vs. 34.2 percent), with an over nine percent drop in his curveball usage (22.8 percent in 2018; 13.5 percent so far in 2019). The rest of that difference in usage is accounted for with a slight boost in how much he’s throwing his changeup (9.3 percent so far this year; 7.6 percent in 2018).
The peak version of Bumgarner is not coming back. But his postseason experience, and solid, healthy resurgence in 2019, will have multiple contending teams ready to make a deal for him. The teams on his no-trade list simply gives him some control over where he goes, nothing more and nothing less.