Yankees: Five free agents they should pursue this offseason
3. Madison Bumgarner
According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, the Braves are expected to prioritize signing Bumgarner who could be looking to play closer to his home in North Carolina. The Yankees will likely prioritize signing Cole or Strasburg (worst case scenario) but if they can’t sign one of the aces they should definitely target MadBum. The four-time All-Star is a free agent for the first time after a terrific 11-year run with the Giants and will likely leave the organization after helping them win three World Series.
A pair of freak injuries limited Bumgarner in the previous two seasons but in 2019 he bounced back with a solid campaign going 9-9 in 34 starts with a 3.90 ERA and 203 K’s in 207.2 IP. Unlike Cole and Strasburg, the left-hander doesn’t have very overpowering stuff, but he’s still successful because of his ability to locate and mix all of his pitches.
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Last season he was hit as hard as he’s ever been allowing 191 hits, a career-high 30 home runs and an 89.4 AVG exit velocity (41.5 hard-hit%), but he should still get a nice deal this winter. He’s been in the league since 2010 but he’s only 30 years old and you can always count on him to deliver 200 innings plus if he can stay healthy. That should garner him a contract offer of at least four years with an average annual value close to $20M range.
Bumgarner has been one of the best regular-season starters in the game over the past decade but the main reason why he should receive plenty of interest from contending clubs this offseason is his impeccable postseason pedigree. The 2014 World Series MVP has already earned the title of greatest postseason starting pitcher of this generation and is arguably the best of all time.
In 16 postseason appearances, he’s 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA and 87 K’s in 102.1 IP. In the Fall Classic, he’s been unhittable going 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA in 36 IP with 31 K’s. He’s as clutch as they come when the pressure is at its highest and for that reason alone the Yankees should strongly consider signing him regardless of how unlikely that may be.