The offseason free agent market this year has been a wild one. After a pair of offseasons that saw top free agents without contracts until very late in the process and/or having to accept one year deals just to hit the market without the qualifying offer the next offseason, this offseason has seen big deals being given out in rapid succession with the recently completed Winter Meetings being one of the busier we have seen in recent years.
One of the biggest names left on the free agent market after the flurry of activity was veteran pitcher and playoff legend Madison Bumgarner. There were certainly some red flags with signing Bumgarner, primarily his age/declining stuff and that he had the qualifying offer attached to him, but there were a lot of teams rumored to be interested in him and many were projecting him to get a contract north of $100 million.
He did not quite get that much.
BREAKING: Left-hander Madison Bumgarner and the Arizona Diamondbacks are nearing a five-year deal, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 15, 2019
There is a decent bit to unpack with the Diamondbacks signing Bumgarner. First, that the Diamondbacks were the team that won the bidding for Bumgarner is newsworthy in itself. The Diamondbacks finished a distant second place in the NL West and four games out of a wild card spot before the Padres continued to overall their squad and the Dodgers don’t look like they are going anywhere. However, given the deferred money involved, this is pretty sweet deal for Arizona as while MadBum isn’t the same pitcher he once was, he is still a valuable player and should be able to more than earn his keep with the contract they gave him.
The bigger news is that this is significantly less than what many thought he was going to end up getting especially when you consider that $15 million of this deal is deferred money. While it was clear that a lot of teams valued Bumgarner’s experience and postseason accumen, it appears as though a lot of experts overestimated how much teams were actually willing to pay for that experience. Regardless, Arizona landing MadBum both makes the NL West race more interesting and is likely to hurt Giants’ fans even more as they will have to see him playing for a division rival.
In 34 starts last season for San Francisco, Bumgarner posted a 2.8 rWAR with a 3.90 ERA in 207.2 innings with 203 strikeouts against 43 walks.