Yankees’ Potential Trade Target: Madison Bumgarner

It’s no question that the Yankees need to add a starting pitcher prior to the July 31 deadline. The Yankees need a proven starter who could take the ball in big games and thrive under the pressure of pitching in October. No pitcher on the trade market, and arguably in all of baseball, has the postseason credentials of Madison Bumgarner.
Photo Credit: gettyimages/ Mike Stobe

A three-time World Series Champion, Bumgarner owns a remarkable 2.11 ERA with 7.7 K/9 in 102 1/3 postseason innings pitched. All that said, Bumgarner can’t be looked at as the pitcher he once was. His numbers have declined, and he has battled through some injuries in the past couple of years, but his numbers still are not bad. In 116.2 innings in 2019, MadBum has pitched to a 3.86 ERA, 3.79 FIP, and struck out 9.33 batters per nine innings. Bumgarner has pitched well recently, going 20 innings while allowing just four earned runs and striking out 28 over his last four starts (he was limited to just two innings in one of those starts as he had to exit the game after being hit with a line drive). That comes out to an ERA of 1.80 and 12.6 K/9.

There are still hurdles to jump over in order to get Bumgarner in pinstripes, beginning with his no-trade list that includes the Yankees. However, it is considered to be likely that he would waive his no trade clause, as players who are dealt during the season are not eligible to receive qualifying offers in free agency. After watching Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel wait until after the draft in June to sign, it is hard to believe Bumgarner wouldn’t do what he could to avoid receiving a qualifying offer.

Another obstacle is what the Yankees are willing to give up for a rental. San Francisco is likely to ask for Clint Frazier in return, but there are reports New York has no intentions of trading Frazier for a rental, so the two teams will need to find common ground elsewhere. The Yankees have a lot of young pitching prospects they could offer but would probably prefer to not part ways with any of their top guys like Albert Abreu, Deivi Garcia, and Jonathan Loaisiga when acquiring a rental. That said, the Yankees will have to give up something significant, as Bumgarner is one of the top available pitchers at the deadline. New York might look to trade a young position player from an area of surplus, such as Thairo Estrada who has value but is currently blocked by more proven players. It would also make sense for the Giants to ask for one of the Yankees’ younger pitching prospects in return who are still several years away from the big leagues but possess a lot of potential.

Whatever the Yankees give up, acquiring Bumgarner could be the final piece to the championship puzzle for the Yankees in 2019. This potential deal feels a lot like when Verlander was traded to Houston at the deadline in 2017. At the time, Verlander was considered to be an aging pitcher, who was 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA. After the trade, Verlander improved in every single statistic, pitching to a 1.06 ERA during the remainder of the regular season and a 2.24 ERA in the postseason that led to the Astros winning the World Series.

I’m not suggesting Bumgarner will be the next Verlander, but it is plausible to believe a move to a contending team will make a big-game pitcher like MadBum improve. If Cashman can find a way to get Bumgarner in the Bronx, the Yankees will feel significantly better about their starting pitching going into the postseason knowing they have a proven winner to help lead the staff.

Article By: Mark Ciano


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