Though Madison Bumgarner did not hit the open market with as much fanfare as once seemed likely, he’s still a prominent part of the landscape for starting pitching. And it appears that strong early interest is coming together for the veteran lefty.
The Phillies have “checked in” on Bumgarner, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link), who notes the potential interplay between the Phils and their division rivals from Atlanta. The Braves are known to be interested in the hurler, who grew up not far from Atlanta in Hickory, NC.
Those aren’t the only eastern seaboard teams considering Bumgarner. The Yankees also intend to reach out to MadBum’s reps, New York GM Brian Cashman tells John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Of course, Cashman has already made clear he’s interested in other, even bigger free agent fish. And he emphasized that point to Shea, stating that the Yanks will look at the full field.
That’s an important point to bear in mind more generally as we gauge early indications of market interest. With a market as full of good options as it is full of needy teams, we’re hearing of a lot of broad explorations on both sides of the balance. Teams are trying to get a sense of price tags. And there’s a balance for players and their agents as well. Most any pitcher would prefer to draw a nice run of early bidding to waiting around and hoping that demand remains strong. It’s better to be Nathan Eovaldi or Tyler Chatwood than Dallas Keuchel, generally speaking, as recent free agent experiences are concerned.
Bumgarner isn’t likely to be a market darling in the nature of Eovaldi or Chatwood. But neither is there reason to think he’ll end up facing the Keuchel conundrum. Bumgarner isn’t the monster he once was on the mound, and he now carries a notable injury history, but he just turned 30 years of age and was still capable of spinning 207 2/3 innings of 3.90 ball in 2019.