There appears to be some smoke to the Philadelphia Phillies interest in former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner.
Friday, Jon Morosi said on MLB Network that the Phillies are “actively interested” in Bumgarner. That’s a step up from earlier this month, when Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic said that the Phillies had “checked in” on the four-time All-Star.
This feels especially noteworthy when you consider that the Phillies were absent when Morosi reported earlier this week on the early favorites to sign free-agent righty Zack Wheeler. There was some thought that could be because Wheeler was extended a qualifying offer, but Bumgarner was as well, meaning the Phillies would have to would give up their second-highest pick in the 2020 MLB Draft and $500,000 in international signing bonus pool money if they signed him.
Still just 30, Bumgarner topped the 200 innings mark in 2019 for the first time since 2016. While not the pitcher he was at his peak, Bumgarner still posted a 3.90 ERA and 3.90 FIP in 34 starts, while tallying a 3.2 fWAR. Certainly, he would provide an improvement over the uncertainty that the Phillies have in their rotation behind Aaron Nola.
That said, the Phillies would have to weigh if Bumgarner is worth the price it will take to sign him. In addition to surrendering draft compensation and international signing bonus pool money, MLB Trade Rumors projects that Bumgarner will land a four-year/$72 million contract.
It also feels worth pointing out that while Bumgarner had a 2.93 ERA in 19 starts at Oracle Park in 2019, he had a 5.29 ERA in 15 starts on the road last season. MLB Park Factors say that Oracle Park was the easiest park to pitch at in 2019. Citizens Bank Park was the 10th hardest.
Also of note is that Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area previously reported that the Braves were making Bumgarner “a priority.”
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