The Yankees Should Make a Move for Madison Bumgarner this Summer
As we enter the final weekend of the month of April, the Bronx Bombers find themselves on a tear. They got off to a bit of a rough start to their season, going 9-9 in the first 18, but finished their homestand winning six straight games, with the most recent victory being a come from behind walk off win. All is good in Yankee land at the moment; the bats are coming to life, the bullpen seems to be getting it back together after a few implosions, and there have been some terrific performances from the starters over the past week; yet not from all the starters. While Luis Severino, CC and Gumby have all looked sharp through their first few starts, Sonny Gray has been downright dreadful, and Masahiro Tanaka has also been shaky despite a couple of stellar performances. The Yanks find themselves on the outside looking in when you talk about elite rotations. The Astros, Red Sox and Indians all have superior rotations to the Yanks at this moment, which as we saw last postseason, is usually the difference in a seven-game series. The Yanks need another young, big game pitcher, a guy who can go either between or before Sevy and Masa to form a terrifying three headed monster. This is why the Yankees need to do everything they can to pursue a trade this summer for Mr. Postseason himself: Madison Bumgarner.
Before getting in to Bumgarner, let’s talk about the two main concerns in the Yankees rotation through the first month of the season: Gray and Tanaka. Gray is more of a concern than Tanaka, as he has been far worse, and was one of the big trade deadline prizes the Yanks got last summer who has not been anywhere close to reaching expectations. In his 16 starts as a Yankee, Gray has a 4.69 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP to go along with 43 walks in 86.1 innings, or in other words: he has been brutal. It is still a small sample size, yet he has come out of the gates this year looking like the same pitcher with the same issues that plagued him last season. So; what does this mean for the Yankees moving forward? Should they trade Gray? Probably not. You have to wait more than 16 starts to judge a starting pitcher on your team, and a guy as talented as Gray is only under contract for the next two seasons and is talented enough that even when he is struggling he can give you a few dominant performances a year, (see: Masahiro Tanaka 2017.) What the Yankees should do however, is look to add an elite starting pitcher in the summer, because at this rate they can’t feel confident with their rotation as a whole, especially in terms of October baseball.
|Photo Credit: AP Julie Jacobson|
Let’s go through the rundown: you can’t rely on Gray to be a big game pitcher for you down the road with his control and lack of aggression issues, unless he has a massive turnaround and stops nibbling. Masa, despite his phenomenal postseason last year, remains a coin flip who is afraid to throw his fastball and gives up far too many home runs. I love me some CC, but at his age you can’t rely on him to be anything more than a guy that goes out and gives you a solid five or six innings, and he has been sensational in performing that role. The ace of this staff, Luis Severino, is turning into one of the premier pitchers in baseball, and one of my personal favorites. Yet he did not exactly do a lot to inspire Yankee fans last postseason when he posted a 5.63 ERA in four starts; with the disastrous Wild Card start against Minnesota serving as an unwelcoming postseason debut. The 2017 playoffs for Severino may just have been a bad stretch or a blip on the radar, and no reason to label him as a pitcher who cannot pitch in big games. Yet, it is something to be weary of, with Sevy still being a young 24-year-old with control issues prone to some blowup nights. Then you have Jordan Montgomery, who did not pitch last postseason and most likely will have a similar role this postseason.
|Photo Credit: AP Julie Jacobson|
So that leaves the Yanks with a very good rotation, but not a great one. When you look around the league at the Yankees most likely competition come October, there is something they all have that the Yankees lack which is impossible to ignore: a dominant veteran ace. Sale for the Red Sox, Kershaw for the Dodgers, Kluber for the Indians, Scherzer for the Nationals, Verlander for the Astros; all veterans on World Series contenders who have valuable experience in big games. If we want to talk about valuable experience in big games; look no further than MadBum. Bumgarner is the greatest starting pitcher in the playoffs that I have ever seen and it is not much of a debate. A career 0.25 ERA in five games and 36 innings of World Series baseball, and a 2.11 postseason ERA overall, Bumgarner is simply unreal, unflappable, and nearly unhittable once the playoffs begin, and he would look great in Pinstripes. Plus, his contract is extremely manageable, as he is only owed 12 million annually for this year and next, with a club option after 2018.
|Photo Credit: Getty Jamie Squire|
Now let’s just address the elephant in the room: it would take a haul to get Bumgarner out of San Francisco. The guy that was their ace for three World Series runs, a four time all-star, and even a two time silver slugger winner with 18 career dingers, all before he turned 27! So yes, it will take a boatload of high end prospects to pull off a deal like that; but do we forget who the Yankees GM is? Brian Cashman has been making big time trades that have resulted in steals for the past few years now, he got Giancarlo Stanton for Starlin Castro, Jorge Guzman, and Devers cousin, he got Didi from Arizona for Shane Greene: are we really going to doubt this man?
Therefore I would not be the least bit shocked if he worked another great deal for MadBum that brought him to the Bronx for the next season and a half. The question is who would the Yanks give up? Names such as Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, and Tyler Wade all come to mind as potential pieces in a Bumgarner deal, but there needs to be a centerpiece, possibly a player who is still under contract for a few seasons and has proven he is MLB ready such as Brandon Drury or Jordan Montgomery. Of course, a Bumgarner trade in the summer is dependent on three things: Gray continuing to pitch subpar, Bumgarner coming off the DL and regaining his form, and the Giants being out of contention come the end of July. Each of those events is likely, yet all of them happening may not be, yet if they do, we will all be patiently waiting to see if Brian Cashman pulls the trigger this summer for a postseason legend.
I’ve added a few possible trades below that I find to be close to consistent with the moves Cashman has pulled in the past.
Yankees Get: SP Madison Bumgarner
Giants Get: SP Jordan Montgomery, OF Clint Frazier, IF Tyler Wade, SP Matt Sauer
Yankees Get: SP Madison Bumgarner
Giants Get: SP Chance Adams, RP Adam Warren, OF Clint Frazier, IF Tyler WadeArticle by: Matt Luzzi