Star Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner has changed agents, moving to the Legacy Agency, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). This represents his second change of counsel in recent months.
Bumgarner, who is still a few days shy of his 27th birthday, is in the midst of what might well end up being his best season in the majors — which would be no mean feat given all he has accomplished already. On the year, he owns a 2.14 ERA in a league-leading 142 2/3 innings, with 10.2 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9. That puts the southpaw on pace for a fourth-straight year with a sub-3.00 earned run average and a sixth-straight with over 200 frames.
With age on his side and a still-rising strikeout rate, it isn’t clear whether Bumgarner has even peaked yet. And with his near-flawless record of health factored in, he’s unquestionably one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. When you factor in a contract that keeps him under control through 2019 — the latter two years via $12MM options — Bumgarner looks to be one of the most valuable assets of any kind in the whole sport.
Though he isn’t going anywhere and there isn’t any pressure to talk over a new deal, it is fair to wonder at what point team and player might return to the bargaining table. Second extension aren’t at all uncommon, of course, as players who signed on as early as Bumgarner did will sometimes outperform their future guarantee by quite a fair margin.
In this case, there isn’t any question whatsoever that Bumgarner would be a $200MM+ pitcher in free agency — which he would have been after this year — but he’s still a long ways from reaching the open market. If the Giants wish to keep him around for the long haul, we’re probably at the start of an opportune window — extending for another year or two — for the club to seek another discount while still bumping his overall earnings into the nine-figure range.
That’s all idle chatter, of course, as we’ve heard no suggestion that the Giants or Bumgarner are looking into another contract. But it’s certainly worthwhile to consider the possibility as he continues to build a case as one of the organization’s greatest players.
The Legacy Agency represents a wide variety of notable players, including young position player stars such as Mookie Betts and Carlos Correa and youthful hurlers including Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. The agency has also handled free agent negotiations for pitchers including Johan Santana and Scott Kazmir.