There's no debating 2020 was a year to forget for most of us. That's especially true for Madison Bumgarner.
The former Giants ace appeared in just nine games for the Arizona Diamondbacks while dealing with an injury, won only one game and had a career-high 6.48 ERA. His performance on the mound wasn't the only reason for disappointment, and might not have even been the biggest reason for disappointment.
It's safe to say Bumgarner wasn't a happy camper when the DH came to the NL in 2020. He always spoke against the DH when he was a member of the Giants, and that remains true now that he's a Diamondback.
Pitchers will go back to hitting for themselves in the NL this season, but there's a good chance this could be the last season there isn't a universal DH in the big leagues. With that being true, Bumgarner has his eyes on one more trophy aside from winning his fourth World Series ring: A third Silver Slugger.
“Usually, nobody would say individual goals or awards like that,” Bumgarner said to The Athletic's Jayson Stark. “But I don’t think anybody is shying away from that one … I think the guy to win possibly the last one, that would be pretty neat.”
Bumgarner has won more or as many Silver Slugger Awards than former MVPs in Joey Votto, Giancarlo Stanton, Freddie Freeman, Justin Moreau, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and many others. He's considered one of the most feared pitchers with a bat in his hands, and perhaps the most powerful.
Through 12 seasons (11 without a DH), Bumgarner has hit 19 career home runs. He's tied with Gary Peters for having the third-most homers by a pitcher in the expansion era. He badly wants to get to 20, and has his sights set on passing Carlos Zambrano and Bob Gibson, who both finished their career with 24 long balls.
“So it’s not out of reach to pass those two, I guess,” Bumgarner said to Stark. “It’s on the verge of being out of reach, but it’s not out of reach.”
While Bumgarner clearly has an affinity for the long ball, it's clear he'll never participate in the Home Run Derby. No shot, no matter what.
“You know what? You couldn’t pay me enough money to do it again after the (stuff) that got stirred up last time over it,” Bumgarner made clear to Stark. “No, I wouldn’t do it for nothing. That got twisted around so many different ways. So no. No way.”
Whether you're a fan of pitchers hitting or not, time is running out on watching Bumgarner take a Babe Ruth-esque hack at the plate. When he gets a hold of one, it's never a cheap swing with the ball barely making it over the wall. Cherish MadBum's angry grunts and monster swings at the plate.
They won't be here much longer.