SEPTEMBER 5: Bumgarner has been activated and infielder Andy Young was optioned to the team’s alternate training site, the Diamondbacks announced.
Bumgarner, who has been out since Aug. 10 with a mid-back strain, will start against the Giants this weekend. The 31-year-old had an incredible run in San Francisco from 2009-19, when he registered a 3.13 ERA across 1,846 regular-season innings, made four All-Star teams and emerged as one of the greatest postseason performers in the history of the game. Thanks in no small part to Bumgarner, the Giants won three World Series when he was part of their organization.
Despite his overall brilliance as a Giant, they let him walk in free agency last offseason in favor of receiving draft-pick compensation via the qualifying offer. The division-rival Diamondbacks then swooped in with a five-year, $85MM guarantee, but the gamble hasn’t gone according to plan so far. Before going on the IL, Bumgarner made four starts and posted a hideous 9.35 ERA/8.60 FIP over 17 1/3 innings, during which he recorded career worsts in K/9 (6.75), BB/9 (3.63), groundball rate (23.7 percent) and average fastball velocity (87.8 mph).
The Bumgarner signing was among the reasons Arizona was a popular pick to vie for a playoff spot this season, but the team has instead crashed to a 14-22 record past the halfway point. While a postseason spot now looks out of the question, seeing Bumgarner end the year on a positive note – if he’s able to – would at least give the Diamondbacks some peace of mind heading into the winter. Conversely, should Bumgarner’s woes continue this month, it would be another negative for the D-backs entering the offseason.