Onward we go.
With Patrick Corbin heading to Washington after inking a six-year deal worth $140 million this afternoon, the Phillies still have a hole to fill atop their rotation. After missing out on one of the National League’s best left-handed starting pitchers, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports they have checked in on another:
Madison Bumgarner’s trade market now coming into focus. #Phillies have spoken with #SFGiants about him and have a greater need for a left-handed co-ace with Patrick Corbin signing with rival #Nats. #Brewers are another possible destination. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2018
A Giants legend, Bumgarner, 29, is coming off a season in which he pitched to a 6-7 record and respectable 3.26 ERA, but there are some concerns with the four-time NL All-Star and 2014 World Series MVP. After missing the first two months of the season with a fractured left hand, Bumgarner returned to make 21 starts, but posted a 3.99 FIP and 1.242 WHIP, his highest numbers in each category since the 2010 season when he was only 20 years old. His 7.6 K/9 was also his worst mark since 2010, and his 3.0 BB/9 and 41.6% hard hit rate were career-worsts. That followed a 2017 season in which he missed three months after suffering an injury to his throwing shoulder in a dirt bike accident.
To recap: Less strikeouts, more walks, and harder contact. Typically, those trends do not bode well for a starting pitcher entering his 30s.
Still, Bumgarner is currently on the right side of 30 and owed only $12 million in the final year of his contract which expires after the 2019 season. He’s also a three-time World Series winner with plenty of big game experience under his belt. In 16 postseason appearances, Bumgarner is 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA and a 0.899 WHIP. While he may not have Corbin’s ceiling at this point, he comes at a fraction of the total cost and length commitment, and it’s not unreasonable to think if he remains healthy that he could replicate or best his 2018 numbers. At the very least, he would likely give the Phillies’ rotation more than anything it currently has beyond Aaron Nola.
Plus, if the Phillies don’t add Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, the lineup has to get better somehow, right?
Madison Bumgarner is your MLB home run leader 😂pic.twitter.com/GDIxzlsiYe
— TPS (@TotalProSports) April 2, 2017
I kid. Sort of.
Something to keep an eye on as the free agent and trade markets for starters take shape in the wake of Corbin’s deal.