Extension Candidate: Madison Bumgarner

The Matt Moore extension showed any young pitcher is a candidate for a multiyear extension, regardless of service time.  Once the Giants gain clarity on the situations of Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, why not lock up Madison Bumgarner?


Bumgarner, just 22, quietly became one of the ten best pitchers in the National League this year.  He posted a 3.21 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.53 HR/9, and 46% groundball rate in 204 2/3 innings.  It's possible the best is yet to come, as the lefty posted a 5.8 K/BB ratio over his final 23 starts.

Bumgarner is represented by SFX, the agency that ranks fourth in extensions since 2009 with seven.  Four of those were for starting pitchers Zack Greinke, Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Verlander, and Clay Buchholz.  The Giants have a GM in Brian Sabean who is open to extensions, so the biggest question may be whether Bumgarner prefers long-term security or maximum year-to-year earnings.  Bumgarner received a $2MM signing bonus as the tenth overall pick in 2007, so he already has some measure of financial security.

Bumgarner has one year and 127 days of Major League service.  Since January of 2008, four pitchers with at least one year of service but less than Bumgarner's 1.127 have signed multiyear extensions: James Shields, Jimenez, Brett Anderson, and Wade Davis.  All signed four-year deals worth $10-12.6MM.  The Rays' Davis and Shields each allowed for three club options, while Anderson and Jimenez have two.  A third Rays starter, Moore, merits a mention in that he signed for more money than any of them, getting a $14MM guarantee with just 17 days of service.  Moore's contract also includes three club options.    

It's easy to see that Bumgarner is more accomplished than Shields, Jimenez, Anderson, and Davis were at the time their extensions were signed.  Bumgarner has a 3.10 career ERA, while the others were all over 4.00.  Anderson and Shields had similar strikeout and walk rates, but Bumgarner hasn't been nearly as homer-prone.  Bumgarner has the most wins, at 20.  Only Shields tops Bumgarner's innings total, a small 14-inning advantage that swings to Bumgarner when postseason innings are included.

If the Giants don't get at least one of Bumgarner's free agent years, an extension probably isn't worth considering for them.  Unless the lefty's extension is to shatter precedents, he'll probably have to accept club options on his third arbitration year and first free agent season.  If I were Bumgarner's agent, I'd be aiming for at least $16MM on a four-year deal.  A big win would be to get his third arbitration year guaranteed, pushing the value to $23-24MM over five years.  That might seem pricey now, but another strong season will push the required guarantee past $30MM.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

46 Responses to Extension Candidate: Madison Bumgarner Leave a Reply

  1. Brad Johnson 4 years ago

    Those five comp names you mentioned all have an important commonality – they play for teams with serious payroll constraints (the Rockies less so than the Rays and A’s). Those teams had to accept a lot of risk if they wanted to realize big savings. The Giants have the (potential) option of choosing risk and possible savings or no risk and no savings.

    • True, but this early the potential savings often greatly outweigh the risk, which is almost always less than $10MM.  That’s why the Red Sox would lock up Lester or Buchholz.

      • Casor_Greener 4 years ago

        I’ve never understood why these teams don’t offer these long terms extensions early for players who had good 1-2 year runs.  They will hand out $10M in bonuses for unproven talent then hesitate to extend the proven guys.

    • As someone with inside knowledge of madison bumgarner and his family i can tell you his years in san fransico are numbered.  Madison is a country boy fro here in Hudson NC and has no desire to live/play 3000 plus miles away from his home.  Look for him wanting to play closer to home, i.e Atlanta, Washington, even Baltimore.  Believe me or not but this is the truth!

  2. Too early to even begin thinking extension for MadBum.

      • Mainly because the Giants can keep giving him menial raises through his arbitration years while keeping a close eye on his progress as a pitcher. Many a hurler has looked good at 22, only to look like Noah Lowry, William Van Landingham or Salomon Torres a couple years later. 

    • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

      you could always wait until you cant afford him , and drastically overpay and cripple franchise for years ie barry zito or you could start thinking about it now , wait and see what happens with cain and lincecum one of them is leaving, probably the one that wont sign a deal for less than 8 years (timmy) 

    • nostocksjustbonds 4 years ago


      They bought out Cain’s arb years + 1 FA year and got a good deal on it. Had they done that with Lincecum they probably wouldn’t be paying him Zito money for the next 2 years. 

      Mad Bum is only going to get better and more expensive, and his ceiling is higher than Cain’s. They should lock him up now at a reasonable rate while they have the chance, or risk big arbitration raises and/or a big contract extension later. It makes tons of sense. 

      • Exactly my point. Cain was 25 when they extended him. Bumgarner is 22 and won’t even be a free agent until 2017. I’m saying, let’s milk MadBum’s arb years for at least two more years, then extend him…after we’ve seen if he’s still the real deal. It’s way too early to extend him now.

    • bayareabeast 4 years ago

      you think the same about buster posey?

      • I feel differently about position players than I do pitchers when it comes to long-term contracts. Posey won’t be a FA until 2017, which gives the Giants at least a couple more years to see how the injury affects him, if at all. 

  3. vonhayesdays 4 years ago

    because procrastination is the greatest nation of all 

  4. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    Scary to think that he’s only 22

  5. joeybw 4 years ago

    Never too early to lock up a stud pitcher especially in this case where arbitration isn’t so far away. I’m a Rays fan and I LOVED the long term deal for Moore who has 9.1 IP in the majors (well and a very impressive 10 innings in the playoffs) and I think the Giants need to sign Bumgarner just like the Rays should of signed Price before he became too expensive. Who knows what will happen with Cain and/or Lincecum, Bumgarner may be your ace sooner than you think.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      the rays got away with larceny!!!!….I would have laughed at that proposal if i were Moore

      • Brad Johnson 4 years ago

        Why? Almost any pitcher would need to take a guaranteed $14 mil contract very seriously. Injuries happen and with pitchers they can very easily derail a career. Even if he’s Tim Lincecum good, he wouldn’t be looking at reaching $14 mil in career earnings until sometime in 2016. 

        He could easily dominate the league for three years, suffer an shoulder injury, and scrabble together maybe $4 mil over the course of his career.

        A man can live several very comfortable lives on $14 mil. 

        • Guest 4 years ago

          you have a valid point…..however if he is good as he should be, the rays do get a great bargain…agreed??

          • Brad Johnson 4 years ago

            Absolutely. That’s why it’s a win-win deal. As Tim said in reply to my initial post, the savings to the franchise can often outweigh the risk. This is because clubs and pitchers operate at different scales.

  6. ilovetacos 4 years ago


  7. Please extend the hell out of MadBum.  If Sabean gets that done, and locks up Cain, the coming Timmy bonanza will suddenly not be a panic fest that it is right now.

    • bayareabeast 4 years ago

      agreed. maybe if he see’s the rotation staying together he’ll give a discount. wishful thinking

  8. WillieMaysField 4 years ago

    Cost certainty would help the Giants. With the possibility of losing Cain or Lincecum I think the giants should overpaid a little to lock up a few free agent years. With sandoval, posey, and Madbum all facing there arb years this would be a good move.

  9. rainyperez 4 years ago

    Also if it weren’t for that Twins game he would’ve got a few Cy Young votes last season. Ceiling is pretty high for him.

    • im pretty sure he got a 7th place vote or a 5th and a 7th?
      but ya that twins game and he also had another 2nd or 3rd inning meltdown later on didnt he? once he gets those out of his system idk if you can see his ceiling, dude cant miss the strikezone at times (and that was what he said was happening for that twins game everything was belt high and middle of the plate)

  10. NatsTown 4 years ago

    Did he ever regain his velocity? I remember that being a big concern for him once he reached the majors? Whats he throw now compared to how he used to? I dont get to see him pitch that often

    • joeybw 4 years ago

      I thought he struggled early on but then he was an absolute stud, especially in the 2nd half. Giants really need to sign him before he reaches arbitration.

      • rainyperez 4 years ago

        He won’t be a free agent until 2017 so Giants priorities will probably be Lincecum, Cain, Sandoval, Posey, and then Bumgarner plus any offense they can buy or trade for. 

        Now if somehow Bumgarner wins a Cy Young this year they probably shift their focus to him.

    • rainyperez 4 years ago

      He did regain his velocity and then some. He can pump it up to 95 mph but generally stays around the 92-93 area. With his cutter and developing changeup I think he’ll be just fine by evidence of his strikeout rate. Plus he’s a young Cliff Lee and doesn’t walk too many batters. 

  11. JackPackage 4 years ago

    To me, it seems like an absolute no-brainer that SF should try to lock up Bumgarner  now and then go right onto locking up Matt Cain… I don’t really understand why they wouldn’t. They get Madison locked up while he’s cheap it softens the blow when they lose one of Cain/Lincecum… which they will. Locking him up is a low risk, high reward insurance policy. 

    As for Matt Cain, I’d be much more comfortable locking him up long term rather than Timmeh. Plus his perceived value/cost is much less than Lincecum’s. 

    If I ran the Giants I’d look to lock up Cain/Madison and trade Lincecum for cheap major league ready players. I’ve got a feeling they’ll do exactly the opposite though.

    • 58 4 years ago

      Who is cheap these days? Besides I don’t ever want to give up Lincecum.

  12. 58 4 years ago

    Now where are the giants getting the money for this?
    That rainy day fund takes all their spare and to sign Lincecum and or Cain will take a huge wad.
    Madbum is still early in his career I would wait a year or two. Others have fallen apart after one or two good years.

  13. 55saveslives 4 years ago

    I would LOVE for the Giants to lock him up like the Rays do. He is world series tested already!

  14. bayareabeast 4 years ago

    I dont get how people could be against signing him long term..he’s going to be the ace of our staff, above lincecum AND/OR cain. Although its a slightly different situation coming off his injury, would you be against signing posey long term too? it doesnt get any better than young cheap talent and if it doesnt work out its only a couple mil wasted, not 17mil i.e. barry zito.

    • Because the Giants can get away with paying him dirt cheap through arbitration until 2017 if they wanted to. Why lock him up now? Give him a raise every year (commensurate to his performance), then lock him up when he gets closer to his FA year (2017). It’s not like he can walk before then.

      • bayareabeast 4 years ago

        if bum and posey both continue to play how they are, they’ll get really expensive through arbitration. signing them now could save us a ton of money

  15. jstthking 4 years ago

    being a long time giants fan i long for the good ol’ days.  if we didn’t win the penant at least i always had willie mays.

  16. JR_Tolls1 4 years ago

    Heck yea, sign him to a 10 year deal and i’ll go out and buy a MadBum jersey.

    • 10 years? Really? How long of a contract would you have given three-time All-Star and Cy Young winner Barry Zito back in 2006?

  17. irishdomreid 4 years ago

    Madbum is going to be better than both Cain and timmy lock him fn up lefthanded power pitcher that’s 22 years old redonkles

    • jaryl612 4 years ago

      Won’t be better than both.  He’s got a ways to go if he is going to top what Lincecum has already done.

  18. jaryl612 4 years ago

    Why are so many people claiming he’ll be better than Lincecum?

    • irishdomreid 4 years ago

      Cause the guys a beast when he’s on nobody can touch him he mite not get the awards because he’s in a rotation of both Cain and timmy but mark my words he will have a longer and better career

  19. marksutton 4 years ago

    Some are saying Bumgarner will be better than Lincecum.  He could be if he develops a change-up like Timmy’s.  But that is very rare in baseball history.  If he does, he could become better than Lincecum because he has more movement on his fastball with similar velocity.  Chances are, however, Bumgarner will not be able to do that.  His slider is already not as good as Lincecum’s, although it is a good one for a lefty.  Bumgarner’s durability is more predictable than Lincecum’s because of his body type (even though his throwing motion could wear down his shoulder).  I think buying out four years on Bumgarner is a good move if he Giants get a deal like the Rays have with some of their young starters.    

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