SAN FRANCISCO -- You could say the next chapter of Madison Bumgarner's baseball life begins today, but he would disagree. Bumgarner knew what was swirling around him the last four months, but he tried not to think too much about the possibility that today's start would take place anywhere but Denver.
"I've got a job to do," Bumgarner said repeatedly in recent days, and for him, that employer always has been the Giants.
It'll remain that way for at least two more months, and three if the Giants have their way. But there's also no avoiding the big picture here. Bumgarner is one of the most important players in franchise history, but there's a reason the Giants were considering shopping him.
The 30-year-old will hit a barren market this offseason for the first time, knowing that he took a deal that was way under his true value the last time and this is his best chance to cash in.
The Giants and Bumgarner never came close to an extension before this season and that didn't change as the deadline approached. While Bumgarner has stated that he would like to be here long-term, there have been no recent signs that the Giants are willing to shell out the contract it would take.
Asked about that on Wednesday, both sides were in sync.
"I've got a job to do and I'm going to do it, so that's it," Bumgarner said.
"We've kind of kept that quiet on both sides and I think that's how we'll continue to keep it," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said. "I understand that's going to be a question that's going to be asked, but I know his focus is going to be on finishing the job that this team started over the last couple of months."
The dance will pick up again whenever the final game has been played, with a twist this time. The Giants can place a qualifying offer on Bumgarner and recoup a draft pick if he leaves. That limited the markets for Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel this past offseason, and it was a popular talking point for national writers in recent weeks.
They all believed Bumgarner had to accept a trade to get rid of the qualifying offer tag, but those close to the pitcher say he never has worried about what that might mean. Nobody is more confident than Bumgarner on the mound, and off the field he is not concerned about his market drying up.
There's good reason for that.
Bumgarner will be one of the top pitchers available and can very reasonably ask for the six years and $140 million that Patrick Corbin got from the Nationals last winter. That shouldn't be too big a stretch for the Giants, and it certainly should help that they didn’t trade him.
The sides continue to have a good relationship, and it’ll be much easier to discuss a new deal having not pulled the trigger on a midseason trade. But that's a conversation for the offseason.
For now, both sides are focused on making the postseason. Bumgarner said the Giants "are coming," and he'll try to keep that going during his first start after a stressful trade deadline.