Longtime Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner is staying in the National League West. He’s just not going to pitch in San Francisco anymore. Surprisingly, Bumgarner elected over the weekend to join the Diamondbacks – who haven’t made the postseason since 2017 or won a playoff game since 2011 – on a five-year, $85MM guarantee.
Although the Diamondbacks haven’t experienced much recent success on the sport’s biggest stage, Bumgarner – one of the greatest playoff pitchers in the game’s history – told reporters Tuesday that he targeted them entering free agency. Bumgarner even preferred going to Arizona than staying in San Francisco, where he won three World Series titles and cemented himself as a franchise icon.
“It was the No. 1 place for me,” the 30-year-old said of Arizona (via Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group). “I did tell (my agent) that. We talked about that often.”
Once the Diamondbacks showed serious interest, Bumgarner revealed that he “was done” looking for a team. Bumgarner entered free agency reportedly looking for a guarantee of $100MM or more. While he’s not going to reach that total in the desert, perhaps he would have had he signed elsewhere. He stated Tuesday that “we definitely left some money on the table. You can say that,” per Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (subscription link).
Now that Bumgarner’s officially in the fold for the Diamondbacks, he’ll be part of an impressive-looking rotation that’s also slated to include Luke Weaver, Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. Moreover, because Bumgarner’s contract includes deferrals and is backloaded (he’ll make $6MM in 2020), the Diamondbacks still have the financial room to make other upgrades to a roster that won a respectable 85 games last season. By agreeing to such a team-friendly salary for next season, Bumgarner showed off “his commitment to winning,” general manager Mike Hazen observed.