PHILADELPHIA -- A few weeks ago, a gift basket was delivered to the home clubhouse at Oracle Park. It was filled with items that a few team employees thought Madison Bumgarner might like and was meant to be a going-away gift to thank Bumgarner for all he has done for the organization and the city.
Bumgarner's fate was seemingly sealed for months, and yet at 4:01 p.m. on Wednesday, he was still in orange and black, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was first to report. The Giants, legitimate wild-card contenders after a stunning July turnaround, did not use Bumgarner's left arm to try and kickstart a rebuild. They will instead try to ride it to another postseason berth and an improbable run in Bruce Bochy's final season.
The Giants made a deal a couple of hours before the deadline, sending Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black to Milwaukee in exchange for minor league infielder Mauricio Dubon. They reportedly also traded reliever Mark Melancon to the Braves and Sam Dyson to the Twins, while acquiring former All-Star Scooter Gennett from the Reds.
Bumgarner was a trade chip in the offseason, but he has always maintained that his preference is to stay in San Francisco. He knew, though, that a last-place team could not reasonably keep him through the deadline, and over the offseason he put together a strong no-trade list to gain some control of the process. As July approached, he quietly started asking friends around the league about landing spots, but when the calendar turned, so too did the luck of an organization.
The Giants got back into the race with a run of 17 wins in 20 games and Bumgarner looked like his old self. He had a 4.30 ERA through the end of April but his stuff ticked up in May and he was dominant in July.
In recent days, Bumgarner got the sense that he would in fact be staying. This does, however, complicate his future a bit. A trade would have freed him up in the offseason, but the Giants now can place a qualifying offer on Bumgarner. That has limited markets in recent years and Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel were so disappointed with their offers last winter that they didn't sign until the middle of this season.
Bumgarner has never been concerned about the qualifying offer, but it still is something he likely will have to deal with whenever this season ends.