He's the quiet heartbeat of the hottest team in baseball. He's a former postseason hero. And he doesn't give a s--t about trade rumors.
Madison Bumgarner is a Giant in every sense of the word, but for how much longer?
“If you trade Bumgarner now, this clubhouse will go ballistic," an anonymous veteran Giants player told USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "And so will the fanbase. How can you possibly justify it?
“I mean, what more do we have to do?’’
The Giants are the hottest team in baseball, winning 17 out of their last 20 games, including four extra-inning victories in a six-day stretch. Despite rolling in a pool of wins, Bumgarner remains one of the most intriguing names before the July 31 trade deadline.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has been teammates with Bumgarner for nine years. No matter how much the big left-hander means to San Francisco, Belt wouldn't be surprised if Bumgarner soon is wearing a different jersey.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if (Bumgarner is) traded,’’ Belt said to Nightengale."But what we’re doing now is probably the most rewarding things I’ve seen in the regular season since I’ve been in San Francisco.
“If we keep Bum and everybody else, who knows what may happen.’’
The more the Giants win, however, the likes of Bumgarner being on the move reportedly dwindle. Entering Wednesday's slate of games, San Francisco sits two games out of the second NL wild-card spot and only 2.5 back of the top spot.
If there's one player who wants Bumgarner to stay a Giant, it's a former World Series hero himself.
"He's special. He's special. He's one of the guys you don't want to give up," Sandoval said of Bumgarner to Amy G after the Giants' win Tuesday night. "He's such a talented guy up there. Every time he gets on the mound, you want to win for him and do everything you can to support him.
"He's one of the greatest pitchers ever. ... He's one of the greatest guys."
Bumgarner allowed three earned runs over seven innings and struck out seven batters Tuesday in what will be his last start at Oracle Park before the trade deadline. With a week remaining until then, fans will have to wait and see if he'll be back as a Giant in August.