Giants

Giants place Madison Bumgarner on disabled list after dirt bike accident

Giants place Madison Bumgarner on disabled list after dirt bike accident

DENVER -- The coaching staff always looks forward to an off day for a struggling team, but at the same time, those rare days come with a certain sense of fear. On Thursday, those fears were realized.

Madison Bumgarner had a dirt bike accident in the Denver area Thursday and sustained bruised ribs and a sprain of his throwing shoulder. Bumgarner was briefly hospitalized and the initial diagnosis of the injury was a grade one or two AC sprain. The Giants did not immediately have a timetable for return. Bumgarner was resting at the team hotel Friday and he will be reevaluated next week.

“Here’s a young guy who, like a lot of us, thinks you’re invincible,” said manager Bruce Bochy, who met with Bumgarner before coming to Coors Field. “He was having some fun and he hit a slippery spot and went down … If I was there, sure, I wouldn’t have let him on the bike. I sure looking back, Madison wishes he hadn’t gone on. He was remorseful. Hopefully this is a lesson learned throughout our club and sports, that you’ve got to be careful.”

Bumgarner was not with teammates when the accident happened. Bochy said he drove himself back to the team hotel and called trainer Dave Groeschner, who took Bumgarner to a local hospital for X-rays, an MRI and a CT scan. He is expected to stay in the Denver area through the weekend but was not expected to address the situation until Monday.

Ty Blach will take Bumgarner's spot in the rotation and start Tuesday against the Dodgers. Right-hander Chris Stratton was called up to take Blach's bullpen spot.

"You don't worry about making it up, honestly," pitching coach Dave Righetti said. "You worry about their health (and) we'll see all that as it progresses ... Off days are the freaking worst for all of us and have been for years, but we don't get many and when we do guys do things they might be missing out on."

Righetti and Bumgarner exchanged texts, and Righetti and several players said that the injuries could have been much worse, given what they knew about the accident. The clubhouse was closed for a team meeting Friday afternoon as players learned details about the situation.

"The main thing here is to be grateful he's not hurt worse than he is," catcher Buster Posey said. "You have to look at that. We're thankful he's not hurt any worse."

There is no downplaying the blow the Giants have taken on the field. The Giants have not won any of Bumgarner's four starts -- he has received five total runs of support -- but he has a 3.00 ERA and looked headed for his best all-around season. Bumgarner hit two homers in the season opener. This is his first DL stint.

Posey said the Giants, already off to a slow start, can't press.

"Baseball is the type of sport where sometimes if you try to do more it works against you," he said. "I do believe you can intensify your focus, but there's a line you've got to go up to and not go over."

Players generally have clauses in their contracts that prohibit any off-field activities that could be viewed as dangerous. The contracts are detailed, and several players said Friday that they are not allowed to ride dirt bikes, but that all contracts include different language. It's not known if Bumgarner's contract included wording about dirt bikes, but the Giants do not plan to impose any punishment. 

What can Giants get in Madison Bumgarner trade? Tim Kurkjian answers

What can Giants get in Madison Bumgarner trade? Tim Kurkjian answers

Every Madison Bumgarner start can be his last as a Giant. 

The July 31 MLB trade deadline is over a month away, but Bumgarner could be gone before we know it. Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is sure to be taking and making calls regarding his team's ace. Those calls should start with the New York Yankees, ESPN's Tim Kurkjian says. 

"The Yankees have to be at the top of that list," Kurkjian said Tuesday on KNBR. "Their lineup is ridiculously productive when it comes to hitting the ball out of the ballpark. But I still think they're one really good starting pitcher short of going into October as the team to beat. ... The question is, how much are they willing to give up?"

One Yankee the Giants should covet could be more available than ever. Clint Frazier, 24, was demoted to Triple-A on Sunday to make room for veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion despite proving he clearly belongs in a major league lineup. Through 53 games this year, Frazier is batting .283 with 11 home runs and a .513 slugging percentage. 

Frazier is the exact kind of player the Giants should be pursuing. He has faults with poor defense and has responded tough to criticisms this year, but he's a young, right-handed power bat that can actually hit the ball over the wall at Oracle Park. Frazier would also be under team control through 2024.

It won't be that easy to acquire him, however.

"I had an executive tell me the other day, 'There's no way the Yankees would trade Frazier even straight up for Bumgarner.' I think the Giants would need Frazier and at least another top prospect before they're gonna move Bumgarner, even in a rental situation," Kurkjian said. 

The Yankees still value Frazier even though there might not be room for him on a star-studded roster. On the other hand, the Giants want to make sure they get the best return possible for a team legend despite the fact he'll be a free agent at the end of the year. 

"How many teams are going to be willing to give up a tremendous amount for a two-month rental who's not the best he's ever been?" Kurkjian said. 

Bumgarner is 3-6 with a 3.87 ERA this season. That doesn't tell the whole story, though. His ERA has lowered every month so far. In March/April he posted a 4.30 ERA in six starts; in May he had a 3.72 ERA in six more starts and he has a 3.32 ERA through three starts in June.

The big left-hander has seen his fastball velocity rise as well. Bumgarner's average fastball velocity of 92.2 mph also is his highest since 2015, according to Brooks Baseball.

Oh, and there's that whole playoffs thing, too. 

[RELATED: History shows teams shouldn't wait to trade for MadBum]

The Yankees need Bumgarner to win another ring. The Giants need Frazier for the ball to go over the wall.

Let's make a deal.

Madison Bumgarner trade should be MLB teams' priority now, history shows

Madison Bumgarner trade should be MLB teams' priority now, history shows

With smarter, more analytical front offices, baseball is changing before our eyes. Even in the sport's evolution, however, history can teach us a lot. 

When it comes to this year's MLB trade deadline, teams should be taking a page out of baseball's history book and pounce at the chance to acquire Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, writes The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Sure, Bumgarner is one of the most accomplished postseason pitchers of all time. But in this case, Rosenthal is going back even further than his heroics in 2014, and it all starts with a different left-handed pitcher. 

On July 7, 2008, the Brewers acquired CC Sabathia from the Indians for Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, Matt LaPorta and a player to be named later. The PTBNL turned out to be three-time All-Star Michael Brantley. More importantly, Sabathia went on one of the greatest stretches by a pitcher we've seen, propelling the Brewers into the playoffs for the first time in 26 years.

Sabathia was unhittable once he joined Milwaukee, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA over 17 starts -- seven of which were complete games. What made the trade different than others, however, was its timing. By adding Sabathia in early July, the Brewers had the big lefty for five extra starts compared to him joining the team after the July 31 trade deadline. 

Times have changed, and fewer teams pull off a trade like that weeks before the deadline. Front offices understand that if teams like the Mets and Diamondbacks continue to struggle, pitchers like Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Zack Greinke, and Robbie Ray could become available.

Sabathia joined the Brewers two weeks before his 28th birthday. Bumgarner turns 30 on August 1. Sabathia had a 3.83 ERA when the Indians traded him. Bumgarner currently owns a 3.87 ERA over 15 starts. But as the season progresses, Bumgarner only has performed better. 

[RELATED: Giants might have two best pieces before trade deadline]

Bumgarner's ERA has lowered every month so far. In March/April he posted a 4.30 ERA in six starts; in May he had a 3.72 ERA in six more starts and he has a 3.32 ERA through three starts in June. Bumgarner's average fastball velocity of 92.2 mph also is his highest since 2015, according to Brooks Baseball.

For teams that believe they can make a playoff push -- even for the Wild Card Game -- their front offices should be calling the Giants, and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi should be answering before the market gets flooded.