Last week’s Winter Meetings brought us an . Then, on Sunday, the stove stayed hot with Bumgarner signing with Arizona . Compared to last winter where we waited until way after the new year for top free agents to sign, we’ve already seen plenty of impact deals this winter. It’s a good sign for the sport of baseball since the signings — nine of which have been done by teams that didn’t play in the postseason in 2019 — represent more teams showing that they’re committed to competitiveness.
The Diamondbacks were surprisingly competitive in 2019, but ultimately missed the final National League Wild Card spot and finished second in the NL West with an 85-77 record. Bumgarner will lead a rotation that currently features lefty Robbie Ray, right-hander Merrill Kelly, left-hander Alex Young and right-hander Luke Weaver. However, Ray could be a trade target as he heads into his final season before free agency. While it’s , he should be able to give the D-Backs 200 innings, a quality every MLB team looks for in a starter.
There was reportedly mutual interest between Bumgarner and the Dodgers during initial negotiations this winter. The club even met with Bumgarner’s representatives at the Winter Meetings last week. Despite Bumgarner being a longtime Dodgers rival , the lefty was interested in joining their rotation behind Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw.
Following the mega deals of Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler, it did seem like Bumgarner’s price was going to hit the nine-figure mark. He was reportedly seeking a . The final deal ( million AAV) is likely to leave Giants fans — who had hoped for Bumgarner to finish his career with the club that drafted him — frustrated after San Francisco’s unwillingness to push harder for the franchise legend considering the contract is affordable.
As mentioned above, left-hander Robbie Ray has been mentioned in trade rumors for a while now, dating back to last year’s July 31 trade deadline. Ray, 28, went 12-8 last season with a 4.34 ERA, 12.1 K/9 and 1.342 WHIP. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, MLB executives who have reached out to Arizona about Ray believe that they will ultimately trade him this winter. He has one year left before reaching free agency. If the D-Backs are planning to continue to shop Ray, even after the Bumgarner deal, they’re likely going to look for a return that would help them fill holes in their outfield. Acquiring Bumgarner does put Arizona in a better position to trade Ray, considering many of the top starters available this winter are off the market.
Bumgarner’s million contract is the second largest by total value in Diamondbacks history. The only contract that was larger was Zack Greinke’s 6.5 million free-agent deal during the 2015 offseason. Arizona traded Greinke to the Houston Astros at last season’s . Here are four other things to know about the deal:
1. Arizona was MadBum’s top choice
Some of the other teams that missed out on Bumgarner include the Reds, Padres, Angels and Phillies. The White Sox, Twins and Yankees were also name checked as possibilities.
Bumgarner, 30, finished the 2019 season with a 3.90 ERA in an National League-leading 34 starts for the San Francisco Giants. During last season’s campaign, the southpaw pitched to a 3.90 ERA/107 ERA+ with a K/BB ratio of 4.72 — one of the best K/BB ratios of his career — in 207 2/3 innings. Bumgarner debuted in 2009 and spent his whole career with the Giants until this winter. A postseason hero for San Francisco, he helped the franchise win three World Series titles in the last decade and was the 2014 World Series MVP.
2. Dodgers lose out on (another) top free agent
The Arizona Diamondbacks and left-hander Madison Bumgarner have reached an agreement on a five-year, million deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Over the next five years, million will be paid in salary, with the final million deferred, Rosenthal reports. Bumgarner’s deal also includes a limited no-trade clause, made up of a five-team no-trade list, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds.
When Bumgarner’s market was beginning to take shape, big-market teams like the Dodgers and Braves were among those mentioned as having serious interest. The Diamondbacks weren’t mentioned as one of the top teams pursuing Bumgarner this offseason. But, as we saw with the Phillies with Zack Wheeler, sometimes, location can outweigh the money. And as mentioned above, Bumgarner wanted a fifth year in his deal, which the D-Backs ultimately gave him. That fifth year would keep him pitching until his age-35 season. Outside of the trade market, the Diamondbacks could focus on acquiring an outfielder via free agency, like Marcell Ozuna, Yasiel Puig or Nicholas Castellanos. Second-tier free agent outfielders this offseason include Corey Dickerson, Avisail Garcia or Kole Calhoun. Arizona will likely also be looking to add a center fielder or second baseman this winter. Depending on who the D-Backs can get, the club will have 2019 breakout star Ketel Marte play the other position.
Signing Bumgarner is the Diamondbacks’ most noteworthy acquisition so far this winter. And while he is a nice addition to their rotation, Bumgarner, alone, probably won’t be enough for this club to find their way into the playoffs next year. So, what does the plan look like for the rest of Arizona’s winter?
3. D-Backs’ next steps this offseason
Now that Bumgarner has signed elsewhere, the Dodgers are likely to turn their focus on bringing free agent left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu back to the rotation next season.
If the Dodgers felt defeated after leaving San Diego’s Winter Meetings last week (mostly) empty-handed, imagine how they must feel now. CBS Sports ranked Bumgarner No. 6 on our Top 50 Free Agent list. Here’s what we wrote:
4. Wild winter continues
Apparently, Bumgarner ended up with his number one destination of his free agency. Arizona was Bumgarner’s top choice, and once the club extended their offer to five years, both sides were able to agree, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly notes that it’s “very possible” Bumgarner left money on the table in order to sign with his top choice. The Giants, for what it’s worth, offered Bumgarner a four-year deal, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.