Trade speculation has swirled around Madison Bumgarner for months, and such buzz figures to grow even louder as we approach the trade deadline due to Bumgarner’s solid results. After a pair of injury-marred seasons, Bumgarner has been healthy and effective this year, with a 3.92 ERA, 8.9 K/9, and a 6.14 K/BB rate that projects as the best of his career. As ESPN’s Buster Olney notes in a subscriber-only column, Bumgarner is throwing his fastball more often than in recent years, and with better velocity. While “the front offices of 2019 don’t necessarily believe in intangibles and mostly won’t pay for them,” Olney wonders if a proven postseason performer like Bumgarner might also benefit from a move to a contending team, similar to how Cole Hamels was reinvigorated after being dealt from the Rangers to the Cubs last summer. With the Giants in last place in the NL West and looking like a deadline seller, it will be interesting to see what San Francisco can acquire for its longtime ace in July, assuming the team indeed does want to move Bumgarner.
Some more from around the NL West…
- The Padres placed right-hander Trey Wingenter on the 10-day IL today (retroactive to Saturday) due to inflammation in his throwing shoulder, as per a team announcement. Phil Maton was recalled from Triple-A to Wingenter’s place in the bullpen. After making his Major League debut in 2018, Wingenter was off to a strong start this season, with a 2.93 ERA and 12.3 K/9 over 15 1/3 innings, albeit with some issues with his control (4.7 BB/9) and home run rate (1.2 HR/9).
- With Zack Godley now pitching out of the bullpen, the Diamondbacks will give rookie Taylor Clarke a shot at the starting rotation, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Clarke is scheduled to start Tuesday’s game against the Rays, and there certainly seems to be opportunity for Clarke to stick if he pitches well, as manager Torey Lovullo said “we haven’t looked past Tuesday” in terms of a long-term rotation plan. A third-round pick for the D’Backs in the 2015 draft, Clarke is ranked by MLB.com as Arizona’s 10th-best prospect. The 25-year-old righty has a 3.55 ERA, 7.8 K/9, and 3.06 K/BB rate over 492 1/3 career minor league frames, and he made his MLB debut earlier this season, a three-inning relief outing on April 20.
- In another piece from Piecoro, he talks to Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen about the team’s good start, and how Hazen’s reluctance to fully rebuild (even while parting ways with the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and Patrick Corbin) kept the D’Backs in position to potentially contend in 2019. While the losses of those big-name players drew the most headlines, Arizona has gotten some excellent early results from somewhat unheralded offseason pickups, i.e. Adam Jones, Greg Holland, Merrill Kelly, Luke Weaver. As to whether the D’Backs could be buyers or sellers at the deadline, “we are hoping this team tells us what to do – directs us what to do – as we move through the season. To this point, we’ve played good baseball,” Hazen said.