Yankees GM Brian Cashman has made it clear that he will talk to several big-name free-agent pitchers, to gauge their interest in coming to New York. Most recent, former Giants ace Madison Bumgarner was revealed as a potential target.
Less than a month away from the Winter Meetings in San Diego, CA, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is beginning to lay his cards out of the table in regards to the free-agent pitchers he intends to speak with — or at the very least, their representation.
The first two names mentioned at the General Managers Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ, were obvious — Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. Likely to be the most expensive of the bunch, Cashman is backing himself up by looking at tier 2 starters, namely 11-year veteran Madison Bumgarner.
Speaking with John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Cashman said that he hasn’t talked to Bumgarner’s agent but that he “definitely” will.
“He’s been a tremendous player for a long time,” Cashman said. “We’re going to look at everybody that’s out there, obviously. Starting pitching is important, and he’s been one of the game’s better starting pitchers for a long time. So we’ll certainly have a conversation.
“It’s nice to know they can pitch in October. No doubt about it,” Cashman said. “It’s just basically trying to project what they can do for you moving forward in the present. Everybody knows his mental fortitude is obviously there.”
While Bumgarner fought through two injury-plagued seasons in 2017 and ’18, he pitched relatively well this past campaign for a mediocre Giants team. At 77-85, San Francisco finished 29 games out of first place in the AL West.
However, Mad Bum made 34 starts, going 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.127 WHIP, 3.90 FIP and 203:43 K:BB ratio across 207.2 innings. After the All-Star break, Bumgarner did all he could to keep his club in the Wild Card hunt, pitching to a 4-2 record, 3.75 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 96 innings.
While Bumgarner may no longer have the same type of velocity (averaged 92-mph on his fastball in ’19) that got him to four consecutive All-Star Games (2013-16), he’s one of the greatest postseason performers in baseball history. Mad Bum is 4-0 with an MLB-best 0.25 ERA, 0.528 WHIP and 3.5 H/9 across three World Series (36 innings).
Unfortunately, the Giants haven’t reached the playoffs since 2016, so it remains to be seen just how stoic the North Carolina native still is when the lights are at their brightest.
And after winning 103 regular-season games, culminating in an ALCS Game 6 loss to the Astros, you better believe that the Yanks intend to return for a deep postseason run in 2020.
Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Yankees will receive competition from both the Braves and Phillies for Bumgarner’s services, although that’s likely to be the news when it comes to the majority of free-agent arms available this winter.
Sportrac estimates that Bumgarner’s AAV could reach $21.1 million — with the possibility of him receiving a 5-year, $105 million deal, based on market value.