Why Madison Bumgarner's trade value might not be seen as an ace pitcher


Why Madison Bumgarner's trade value might not be seen as an ace pitcher

Time is ticking away on Madison Bumgarner's days as a Giant. 

As the July 31 trade deadline approaches, memories of Bumgarner in the Bay Area are brought up instead of his future with the Giants. While it's expected the left-handed pitcher -- who will be a free agent at the end of the season -- is bound to be on a new team in the coming weeks, what will San Francisco see in a trade for its ace? 

It might not be as much as expected. Advanced stats could have teams worried about who exactly Bumgarner, who turns 30 on Aug. 1, will be for the rest of the season. 

"Teams interested in Madison Bumgarner are asking, 'Just what would we be getting?'" The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal said Saturday on FOX's MLB broadcast. "Yes, Bumgarner is throwing the hardest he has since 2015 and his strikeout rate is almost at its career norm, but his hard-hit percentage is the highest of his career and many of his expected stats -- based on launch angle and exit velocity -- basically depict him as a below average starter. 

"So, his trade value might not be as an ace, it might be more as a mid-rotation pitcher." 

Bumgarner got rocked Thursday night in what could have been his last start in the Giants-Dodgers rivalry. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings while allowing 10 hits and six earned runs. His ERA is now at a career-high 4.28. The advanced stats are concerning, too. 

Through 16 starts, Bumgarner's hard-hit percentage is a career-worst 47 percent, according to FanGraphs. This is now the sixth straight season his hard-hit percentage has increased, and it has jumped 5.4 percent, up from 41.6 percent last season. His soft-hit percentage is also a career-low at 14.4 percent. 

Even though Bumgarner's average four-seam fastball (92.2 mph) is his exact career average and his highest since 2015, he's getting hit harder than ever. 

One player that seemed like he could be a fit in a Bumgarner trade is Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier. The 24-year-old was recently demoted to make room for Edwin Encarnacion despite batting .283 with 11 home runs in 53 games this year. It was assumed Frazier was more available than ever, and a swap of Bumgarner for a powerful young outfielder made sense for both sides. 

Don't buy your Frazier jerseys quite yet, Giants fans.

"They [the Yankees] do not intend to give up four more years of Frazier for a rental such as Madison Bumgarner," Rosenthal said Saturday.

[RELATED: MadBum's run against rival Dodgers worth appreciating]

With the trade deadline slightly over a month away, it will be interesting to see what exactly the Giants can receive in return for Bumgarner. Will they find future stars for a former postseason hero? Or will it be far from that for San Francisco?

Only time will tell, and it appears to be ticking away for Bumgarner and the Giants.

Madison Bumgarner beats back at trade rumors after Giants walk-off win

Madison Bumgarner beats back at trade rumors after Giants walk-off win

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few minutes after the Giants overcame a deficit in the 16th inning and walked off the New York Mets in a thrilling 3-2 win, Madison Bumgarner tracked down his manager. He still couldn't believe it. He had to talk to Bruce Bochy. 

It wasn't the comeback that Bumgarner was incredulous about. He expects great things from this team. It was the fact that Bochy had pulled Bumgarner after 94 pitches and nine innings. 

Three years ago, Bochy planned to let Bumgarner pitch the 10th inning of the NL Wild Card Game against the Mets at Citi Field before Conor Gillaspie's heroics made it a moot point. On this night, he wouldn't let Bumgarner go past nine. 

"He lobbied, trust me," Bochy said, smiling. "He did. He came in after the game and he was still mad at me for not letting him go out there for the 10th."

Bumgarner's lobbying wasn't limited to the manager's office. After the win, he held as forceful a press conference as you will get with a pitcher who has spent years saving his best stuff for more casual settings. The message was clear. He doesn't want to be anywhere else on August 1. 

Asked specifically about continued trade rumors as the Giants have won 13 of 15, Bumgarner gave a quick answer. 

"I don't give a s--t," he said. "I'm here to win games for this team, and that's what we're doing."

Asked about the possibility of his time at Oracle Park winding down, Bumgarner again shook his head.

"I'm trying to win games for the Giants and we're trying to get into the postseason and we're making a push," he said. "We're coming."

Bumgarner repeatedly mentioned lofty goals, finishing up by noting that this win -- a comeback on a night when a tired lineup struggled to get going -- is the type you see from championship clubs.

"If we manage to keep this going and sneak in (the postseason), I don't think anyone will want to match up with us," he said. 

The Giants won't win the division, but they're back near the top of the Wild Card chase and back to one game under .500. If they keep this going, they very well could be in the winner-take-all game for a third time this decade, and there still might be nobody you would rather have on your side that night than Bumgarner. 

Three years after he went the distance to send Noah Syndergaard and the Mets home for the winter, Bumgarner again got the better of the flame-throwing right-hander. He struck out six and cruised through the ninth. Bochy, knowing he couldn't use Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson because of recent overuse, still opted for his bullpen.

The Giants bent repeatedly, but did not break. Williams Jerez, called up earlier in the day, finally faltered in the top of the 16th when Pete Alonso took him deep to left. But the dugout wasn't at all concerned. Alex Dickerson and Brandon Crawford led off the bottom of the inning with doubles to tie the game. Three batters later, Donovan Solano walked it off. 

That made a big league winner of Jerez for the first time, and made that late-game push-and-pull a bit more lighthearted. Bumgarner really did want a shot at the 10th inning, saying later, "How many times do you get a chance to go out for the 10th?"

Bochy wouldn't allow it. He has been particularly protective of his ace this season, and while early on it might have seemed that would only benefit another club down the stretch, the situation has changed. The Giants firmly are in the postseason race, and Bumgarner clearly wants a part in it. 

[RELATED: Pillar wants to give Giants tickets to fans after viral clip]

At the very least, he would like two more months with Bochy. Perhaps he'll finally convince his longtime manager to let him pitch into extra innings. 

"I didn't try to make it much of a conversation, but he wasn't having it," Bumgarner said, smiling. "Usually, if I really want, I can get my way with him. But he wasn't having it today."

Watch Donovan Solano walk off Mets, clinch Giants' sixth straight win


Watch Donovan Solano walk off Mets, clinch Giants' sixth straight win

They did it again.

Donovan Solano's walk-off single in the bottom of the 16th inning sealed the Giants' 3-2 win over the New York Mets on Thursday, extending San Francisco's season-high winning streak to six games. Solano stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded, beating New York's shift with a single to right field. 

The Giants entered the bottom of the 16th trailing 2-1 after Mets slugger crushed a 427-foot home run to left center field. That broke a tie that lasted since the bottom of the fourth inning, as New York ace Noah Syndergaard dueled with San Francisco counterpart Madison Bumgarner. 

Bumgarner left the game after the ninth with six strikeouts and five hits allowed on 94 pitches. The 29-year-old, who might have been pitching his last game at Oracle Park ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, wanted to pitch into extras. 

But the Giants bullpen held strong after Bumgarner's departure, stranding multiple runners in the 10th, 13th and 15th innings. Alonso's blast looked like it might be enough to end the Giants' winning streak, but San Francisco didn't record an out in the 15th. Alex Dickerson doubled to lead things off, then Brandon Crawford drove him in with another double. Austin Slater was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat, and Kevin Pillar loaded the bases with a single to right. 

That allowed Solano to be the hero, and his walk-off hit moved the Giants 2.5 games back of the second NL wild card spot. They haven't done much losing in July. 

[RELATED: Why Flan thinks Giants owe it to MadBum to trade him]

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told KNBR earlier this week that San Francisco's trade deadline wasn't just a matter of buying or selling. He added that "every opportunity you have to get to the playoffs has a ton of value," and the Giants reportedly won't make any trades without fetching a "significant" return. 

Solano's walk-off alone won't change the calculus. But if wins continue to pile up, Zaidi's deadline dilemma becomes far more interesting.