Whether San Francisco Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner was ever a realistic fit for the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies or not, it increasingly appears that Bumgarner will only wear one jersey during the 2019 season.
According to MLB Network‘s Jon Heyman, “few see Madison Bumgarner going anywhere now.” While he admitted that things are fluid around the July 31 trade deadline, he added that an unnamed executive opined to him that “No way the Giants can sell now, they’re on fire.”
The upstart Giants have won nine of their last ten games and climbed to within two games of the second National League Wild Card spot, currently held by the St. Louis Cardinals. While the Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers both stand between the Giants and the second Wild Card spot – and the Arizona Diamondbacks are also just two games out – it would be tough pill to swallow for Giants fans if they sold under these circumstances. Future Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy is set to retire at the conclusion of the 2019 season. If they traded Bumgarner, a franchise icon, when they still had a chance to reach the postseason, the optics wouldn’t be great.
From a Phillies perspective, Bumgarner, who will turn 30 on Aug. 1, probably wasn’t a great fit at this juncture anyway. While the former World Series MVP has a minuscule 1.13 ERA in July, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi likely would have had a hefty price-tag on the four-time All-Star. Never mind the fact that it’s still not entirely clear what Bumgarner is at this stage of his career – he has a 3.65 ERA and 3.70 FIP in 21 starts in 2019 – the Phillies are fighting for the second Wild Card spot. If they manage to win the second Wild Card spot, there’s a good chance they’ll square off with Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals in a one-game playoff. If they manage to get through that, they’ll have a date with Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS waiting.
A slew of trade rumors Monday – which tied the Phillies to Diamondbacks starters Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, along with Detroit Tigers starter Matthew Boyd – probably give an indication of where Phillies general manager Matt Klentak is looking at if the Phillies make a major trade. All three of Greinke, Ray and Boyd are under control for at least 2020, meaning they aren’t rentals. If the Phillies acquire one of the three and manage to make the playoffs in 2019, great. Regardless, they’ll be part of the 2020 Phillies rotation.
If the Phillies are so inclined, Bumgarner will become eligible for free-agency this offseason. If the Giants don’t re-sign him, the Phillies would be able to bid on his services this winter. Houston Astros righty Gerrit Cole and Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw Hyun-jin Ryu are expected to highlight this upcoming free-agent class in terms of starting pitching, but beyond those two, Bumgarner may be the best option of a class that could also include Cole Hamels, Zach Wheeler, Jake Odorizzi and Tanner Roark.
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