What is that old adage, all things must come to an end and an era came to the end with the San Francisco Giants.
In this day of free agency and big bucks, Madison Bumgarner took his glove and left for a division rival.
No, Giants fans, he did not travel about 350 miles south on interstate 5 to the Los Angeles Dodgers; however, the Hickory, North Carolina native signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for a reported $85 million over for five years.
The Giants did not go without a fight in re-signing Bumgarner to a long-term deal, as the two sides were talking as late as Wednesday in getting a deal done. The deal that the Giants put out there was five years at $85.5 million according to some reports.
With Bumgarner gone, the Giants staff for 2020 will be different indeed; however, it will include holdovers Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto. Also in the mix to join the starting rotation will be Andrew Suarez, Dereck Rodriguez, Tyler Anderson and newly signed Kevin Gausman, who the Giants signed during the Winter Meetings.
It will be a different scene in the Giants clubhouse when the 2020 season commences, as Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt are the only three players remaining from the 2014 World Championship team that defeated the Kansas City Royals in seven games.
Bumgarner will best be remembered for his World Series heroics in 2010, when as a 21-year old, he shutout the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the World Series, who can ever forget his postseason run in 2014 that started with the Wild Card game at PNC Park, Game Five of the World Series and finally those final five innings against the Royals in Game Seven on two days rest.
Madison Bumgarner has won three World Series and is arguably one (if not the best) postseason pitcher in history. The Giants made a $17.8 million qualifying offer to the free agent, which guaranteed a draft pick compensation for the Giants, a team seriously in need of younger players. It is very doubtful the Giants will win the World Series in 2020. There are two young teams looking for that extra puzzle piece to make it over the hump. Two teams that won their divisions but fell way-short of going deep into the postseason. Two teams that could use a guy like him.
The Braves won the East in the National League with a 97-65 record, four games over the World Champion Washington Nationals, but lost the Divisional Series vs. St. Louis Cardinals in five games. They have a great young ball club with a terrific starting rotation of, Mike Soroka, whose just 22 years old and finished 13-4, 2.68 ERA. He is currently their best hurler. Max Fried, who finished 17-6, 4.02 ERA. Mike Foltynewicz and a very good bullpen. Not to mention one of the best lineups around in Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr.and Ozzie Albies. Bumgarner would be like gold for this young team, which he would bring experience. The location is excellent for Bumgarner, who lives nearby in his home state of North Carolina. Plus he would stay in the National League. I would say Atlanta is the best place for him.
The Twins won the American League Central Division with 101-61 record but were swept by the Yankees 3-0 in the Divisional Series. Like Atlanta, they are another young team in need of an experienced starter like the Giants lefty, but unlike the Braves, they are not as deep in pitching. Therefore, the Twins could go hard after Bumgarner. But there is one disadvantage as Bumgarner has only pitched in the National League with the Giants. He is one of the best hitting pitchers in the game and was even used as a pinch-hitter by Bruce Bochy. He loves to hit. The youngest and most talented starter with the Twins is the 25-year-old José Berrios, who finished 14-8, 3.68 ERA this season. The Twins are probably in the conversation for the Giants pitcher.
There are other potential teams looking for pitching,the Los Angeles Angels are one of those. He would definitely fit very well in Joe Maddon’s new team. The Angels are going to go heavy on free agents, especially Gerrit Cole, who was born in Newport Beach, about 45 minutes from Angel Stadium. He seems a perfect fit for the Halos. The San Diego Padres is another young up-and-coming team who plays in the same division as the Giants. They should be looking at him, too, and do not forget the American League Champion Houston Astros. Their rotation — especially if Cole leaves — will be a solid one with this acquisition.
Either Atlanta or Minnesota could offer Bumgarner, who is 30 years old, a two-year deal worth in the $40 million range. I do not see a problem with that. More than two years is a risk because he is still a good pitcher but not as dominant as he once was. Let’s face it, nobody knows which Bumgarner they would get. Although there is a chance of scenery for him, leaving a team that is not close to returning to the Fall Classic, like Atlanta or Minnesota, who are much closer, is something that he likely is considering at this stage in his career. He is the type of competitor that with a winning team, he would perform much better and he would be motivated to take his team to the postseason, which is something he cannot do with today’s Giants.
Bumgarner is in a good situation. If he decided to stay put with the Giants, that would have been a surprise to many. Although 60 wins is tied in total wins at home when Matt Cain was with the Giants. Pitching at Oracle Park, which is not a hitting paradise, is an advantage if he decides to stay in San Francisco and fans will love it, and if he retired with the Orange and Black, that would be even better, but fans do not have much of a say on his future. In my opinion, the only San Francisco Giant that will never leave the team (of the original players that were part of the even year World Series era) is Buster Posey. He was the Rookie of the Year in the NL with the Giants in 2010 and he will retire as a Giant.
Where will Bumgarner be pitching next season? At the end of the day, it is about the money. What else is new?
#1 How ironic is it that last meeting between Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies in Washington against the Nationals turned out to be a loss that mathematically eliminated the Phillies in Washington DC? The Nats fans found that to be poetic justice.
#2 The San Francisco Giants end their 2019 homestand and regular season this week as they opened a three-game series with Colorado. The Giants have some young prospects and veteran players who are looking to come back next season so everyone will play hard to the final game on Sunday.
#3 The Giants’ Bruce Bochy set to retire, Pablo Sandoval out with an injury for the rest of the season and Madison Bumgarner may not be back all have been a direct force in the Giants’ more successful days.
#4 The Oakland A’s are holding a 1/2 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL wild card race. The A’s are finishing up their regular season on the road against the Angels and Mariners. Can they pull it off?
#5 The San Jose Earthquakes, who won two out of their last seven games, faceoff against Philadelphia on Wednesday night, and on Friday, they host the Seattle Sounders. This is their best chance to put together a couple wins at home.
Sunday’s season finale against the Dodgers will be manager Bruce Bochy’s last game as a Giant. Will it also be Madison Bumgarner’s last game as well?
The Giants are guaranteed to be interested in resigning their staff ace especially after he regained his form and health in 2019. But he won’t be their only priority, and the Giants won’t be Bumgarner’s only suitor. The price will have to be right for the soon-to-be 31-year old pitcher to return.
The Giants could find themselves intrigued by bigger ticket items like Gerrit Cole and J.D. Martinez if the slugger opts out of his deal with the Red Sox. One thing’s obvious: the Giants have multiple needs and targets commiserate with where they are coming off a third, consecutive losing season and where they want to be, running with the Dodgers and attempting to end their streak of NL West titles, now sitting on seven.
“It’s not so much, ‘Hey, do you have the money for Player X or the money for Player Y?’ Or, ‘How much does ownership want to spend?’ It’s more how does Farhan and the staff want to bake the cake?” club president Larry Baer said in a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Giants have upgrades in Kevin Pillar, Mike Yasztremski and Alex Dickerson. Younger players Mauricio Dubon and Joey Bart could be ready for starting assignments at the major league level. But the organization is also hamstrung by the big contracts previously given to Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto. Who to keep, who, if any, can be moved, and who to trust as centerpieces going forward are among the questions GM Farhan Zaidi and his staff must answer.
Those won’t be easy answers to obtain. And once Zaidi hones in on the personnel decisions, will they also address the issues the current team has had winning at Oracle Park. Other than Pillar, most of the Giants’ offensive performers have fared far better on the road than at home.
photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants’ Logan Webb pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Atlanta.
On the Giants podcast with Morris:
#1 The Giants avoided getting swept by the Atlanta Braves in Cobb County Sunday with a 4-1 win. The Giants added two runs in the top of the sixth. Joey Rickard doubled on a line drive to Nick Markakis. Both Evan Longoria and Kevin Pillar scored on the play. San Francisco snatched a 3-0 lead.
#2 The Giants’ away record was better than their home record away they were 42-39 and home 33-42. The bulk of the Giants’ road success came after the July 31st trade deadline and in August when they hit a speed bump and lost momentum.
#3 For San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, it was his final road game managing. Bochy notched his 2,000 win of his career when the Giants were in Boston prior to coming to play the Braves.
#4 One of the biggest highlights on the trip was the home run hit by Mike Yastrzemski in Boston Tuesday night, which drew a standing ovation from the Boston crowd — kind of like their own homage indirectly for Mike’s grandfather Carl.
#5 The Giants conclude the 2019 season at Oracle Park on the homestand. The Giants will open against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night for three games and finish the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers for three starting on Friday night. Starting for Colorado, Jeff Hoffman (2-6, 2.71 ERA), and for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner (9-9, 3.86 ERA).
Morris did the Giants podcasts each Monday during the 2019 Giants season and will begin Cal Bears podcasting next Monday, September 30th at http://www.sportsradioservice.com
Statistically, the 2019 Giants are a mixed bag of hope and despair, but one number continues to set itself apart from the group: the Giants have hit just 158 home runs, 52 fewer than the Major League average, and way fewer than anyone could envision a playoff contender subsisting on.
Not hitting home runs, not scoring runs? Well, a trip to Boston to face the Red Sox could be the fix the Giants need to put themselves into a statistically, palatable place. The Sox have put up 831 runs–more than 100 runs above the major league average–and the Giants wouldn’t mind seeing some of that offense rub off on them.
Bringing your lucky charm to the interleague series couldn’t help either. The Giants are offering the hyped debut of Mike Yasztremski at Fenway. Yasztremski, the grandson of the Boston Hall of Famer, has a .265 average with 19 home runs and 65 RBI. His grandfather, Carl, will be on hand at Fenway on Tuesday night.
The Giants hope to retain Yasztremski, Kevin Pillar and Alex Dickerson in the off-season to bolster their outfield in 2020. But if not, could the Giants make a run at Boston’s J.D. Martinez, who has an opt-out clause in his five-year deal after this season? A year ago, Martinez was among baseball’s premiere offensive threats as Boston ascended to a World Series title. This year, Martinez has been off his game, but not so much so that he couldn’t realistically rebound in 2020. Would the Giants consider giving the former Diamondback a five-year deal and making him the centerpiece of their offense going forward?
Chris Sale started 2019 far removed from his All-Star form, briefly righted his ship, then was declared done for the season with an elbow injury. Sale signed a five-year, $145 million extension in the off-season, just part of Boston’s pricey rotation of 2020 and beyond. David Price, Nathan Eovaldi also are big ticket items for the Sox in 2020.
Still Rick Porcello and Pablo Sandoval come off the books this off-season, which could lead the Red Sox to pursuing Madison Bumgarner to bolster their rotation. After a season in which the Giants found few rewarding offers for their iconic starter, he could be a bargain in free agency. Could that lead Bumgarner to Boston?
The revolving door could start with Martinez or Bumgarner or some other names. Will Smith, a 2020 free agent, could be of interest to Boston, as could Tony Watson. The Giants could take a look at Porcello if the price is right.
One thing’s certain: both franchises will look shed salary before they add it. Dave Dombrowski, Boston’s architect for their 2018 championship roster has already been shown the door, likely meaning his replacement will have the mandate to be more fiscally responsible. That’s probably an easy one to determine. Both franchises have too many weighty commitments going forward.
Johnny Cueto, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt all have two years remaining with the Giants. In 2020, the financial commitment to those five players alone will total $91 million.
The Red Sox have $237 million in commitments to Price, Sale and Eovaldi over the next three seasons. But they also have interest in resigning Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts to long term deals, so that probably means the new Sox GM will be aggressive in trying to shed one of the three starters on this list.
These circumstances could draw the two franchises together as mutual beneficiaries. If so, it’s bound to be creative. But how could it not be? These two franchises know how to operate having won seven of the previous 15 World Series titles.
On Tuesday, Giants’ rookie Logan Webb faces Eovaldi at 4:05 pm.
SAN FRANCISCO — Kevin Newman maybe auditioning for a role as the Pirates’ leadoff man, but he maybe better suited as the team’s focal point.
Newman knocked in a pair of runs in a four-run ninth inning and the Pirates shocked the Giants 6-4 on Monday night. The Pirates improved to 11-5 in the games the speedy, powerful Newman has batted leadoff.
The Giants started Madison Bumgarner, who was attempting to win for the 61st time at Oracle Park, surpassing former teammate Matt Cain as the winningest pitcher in the park’s history. Bumgarner was in line for the win after allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings, but the Giants’ injury-ravaged bullpen let him down.
With relievers Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson and closer Will Smith unavailable due to injuries, manager Bruce Bochy stuck with Tyler Rogers, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning. But Rogers allowed Kevin Kramer to reach on an infield single, and was replaced by Fernando Abad after just one pitch in the inning.
Abad walked Josh Bell, and gave up Elias Diaz’ lengthy drive to the left field gap that one-hopped the wall. But the smash registered as just a base hit when Mike Yasztremski fielded the ball cleanly and appeared to have a catch to the Pirates’ baserunners. Both Kramer and Bell retreated as Diaz advanced almost creating an out-making logjam on the basepaths, but the Pirates were still set up with bases loaded and Newman up.
Newman delivered to tie it, the first time the Pirates had been even since the fifth inning. Kevin Reynolds’ base hit untied it, and Jose Osuna provided insurance with his sacrifice fly that scored Newman.
“Too bad we couldn’t hold on to give him a win,” Bochy said of Bumgarner, his strong outing squandered. “You look at his body of work; he’s been a savior. Guys who give you innings like that are invaluable. Not just innings but quality innings.”
The Giants fell to 30-39 at home–the third worst record in the National League–after losing for the sixth time in their last seven home games. Meanwhile, the youth-infused Pirates have won 11 of 17 after being dreadful for almost all of July and August.
Newman and Reynolds, the former Giants minor leaguer acquired in the Andrew McCutchen deal, have been a big part of the recent surge.
“I think the combination of the two has them getting the results they’ve been getting,” said manager Clint Hurdle.
OAKLAND — The A’s literally snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory on Saturday night as they watched a 4-2 lead going into the top of the eighth inning be wiped out when the San Francisco exploded for eight runs on seven hits off five Oakland pitchers. It was simply a stunning rally that the A’s did not see coming.
For the Giants, it felt like they had pent up emotion and energy that just had to be released. Madison Bumgarner did his best to keep his team in the game to give them the chance to win. When the A’s pitching staff gave the Giants the slightest of openings, the men from across the Bay took the opportunity and did the most with it.
The Giants took game one (game 3 of 4 total) of the Bay Bridge Series in Oakland 10-5 on Saturday night before 56,367 fans who were treated their money’s worth for coming out to the ballpark. The Giants scored 10 runs off 13 hits and left six men on base. For the A’s, they put five runs up on the board on 10 hits while leaving 10 men on base and committing one error. The game took three hours and 50 minutes to complete.
The Giants record for the season improved to 64-65 with the victory while the A’s fell to 74-54 on the year. San Francisco is now 5.0 games out the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The A’s are 0.5 games behind the Rays for the second Wild Card slot in the American League.
In this type of game where 14 pitchers were used, determining the winning and losing pitcher is almost “voodoo” science. Sam Coonrod (3-0) gets credit for the win while Yusmeiro Petit(3-3) was tagged with the loss.
Neither starter figured into the final decision
Chris Bassitt pitched 5.2 innings for the A’s on Saturday night. The right-hander ran into some trouble as he started through the Giants order for the third time. He gave up a home run to Brandon Crawford on 0-1 pitch with two out in the top of the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth inning, Evan Longoria drove in Alex Dickerson from second base to tie the game at 2-2. That would be all for Bassitt as he was replaced on the mound by Jake Diekman.
Bassitt gave up two runs (both earned) off four hits (1 HR). He struck out five Giants and walked none. Bassitt threw 92 pitches (64 strikes).
Madison Bumgarner worked 5.0 innings for San Francisco in the contest. He also gave up two runs. The first run came off a leadoff home run by Mark Canha in the home half of the second inning that easily cleared the left-field fence. The A’s touched “Mad Bum” for another run in the bottom of the third inning.
Jurickson Profar walked to lead off the third for Oakland. Josh Phegley then singled to left field which moved Profar to second base. With one out, Matt Chapman hit a double to left that drove Profar in from second base to score the A’s second run of the game. The A’s took a temporary 2-0 at that point.
Bumgarner also gave up two runs (both earned) on two hits (1 HR). He struck five A’s and walked one. Bumgarner threw 97 pitches (64 strikes).
Did I just see a sacrifice?
Jurickson Profar was the leadoff hitter for the A’s in the bottom of the seventh, and he hit a double to right field. Catcher Josh Phegley then laid down a sacrifice bunt on the third-base side of the infield that moved Profar to third base (yes, everyone including the Giants was surprised). Marcus Semien followed up with an RBI single to left field. Matt Chapman singled to center sending Semien to third base. That would all for Giants reliever Jandel Gustave who would be replaced by Fernando Abad.
Matt Olson was the first Athletic to face Abad, and he hit a single to right that drove Semien home to score the fourth run of the game for Oakland. That would end the scoring for the A’s in the seventh inning and gave them a 4-2 lead, which proved to be not enough.
Focus on the A’s
Mark Canha hit his 20th home run of the year off Bumgarner in the second inning of the game. He also extended his hitting streak to eight games.
The A’s now have five players with 20-plus home runs on the season: Canha (20), Chapman (29), Laureano (21), Olson (26), and Semien (22).
Oakland has a record of 22-11 versus left-handed starters in 2019.
Spotlight on the Giants
Brandon Crawford hit his 10th home run of the season in the win on Saturday night and his first home since July 15 at Colorado.
Kevin Pillar has hit safely in 13 of his last 16 games and is hitting .397 over that stretch.
Evan Longoria went 2-for-4 in the game, was hit-by-pitch and posted two RBI. He is hitting .347 since June 30.
The Bay Bridge Series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 1:07 PM at the Coliseum. The Giants will send rookie RHP Logan Webb (1-0, 1.80 era) to the hill to make his second start of the season. He made his major league debut last Saturday in Arizona picked up the win. Expect quite a few fans in the stands rooting for Webb who grew up in Rocklin just east of Sacramento.
The A’s will counter with LHP Brett Anderson (10-9, 4.06 era). Anderson has been having a rough go of things as he is 1-4 with a 5.02 ERA in his last five starts. Run support has been a big issue for Anderson. The A’s have provided three runs or fewer in 14 of his last 17 starts. Anderson was the losing pitcher in the game with the Giants in San Francisco on August 13.
Player’s Weekend Uni’s
The black and white themed uniforms created an interesting effect on the field Saturday night. It was really a throwback feel. In fact, I felt like I was watching the movie “Eight Men Out” at times.
I really liked the all-black uniforms the Giants wore as the visiting team. They were as the guy says in the SUV commercial — “sharp!”. The all-white worn by the A’s were had a very clean look, but the lettering and numerals were washed out. If they had outlined the lettering and numbers in black, the home uniforms would have been “sharp”.
The A’s pitchers did wear black hats because it was determined that the hitters were having trouble picking the baseball up against the all-white caps.
#1 The Giants were swept in three games in Chicago two of them were loses by just one run. Do you view the Giants as a formidable opponent in their wild card chances seeing how they played against a competitive team like the Cubs? Dropping 14 of their last 17 games at Wrigley.
#2 Thursday’s game at Wrigley proved to be one for the books. Despite the loss, the Giants and Cubs played to a 1-0 final and former Cub starter Jeff Samardjiza went seven innings with two hits and one run.
#3 For Samardjiza, was this an advantage pitching in a park where he played part of career and that he was familiar with?
#4 The Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks got the call as the starter and didn’t disappoint going seven innings pitching a three hit shutout. He had good movement on his pitches on Thursday.
#5 The Giants have a rare Friday off before playing at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. Going for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner (8-8, 3.72 ERA), and for the A’s, Chris Bassitt (9-5, 3.61 ERA).
photo sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Phoenix.
On the Giants podcast with Morris:
#1 Morris, the way you saw it at Chase Field on Sunday, Giants starter Madison Bumgarner had the kind of outing you don’t see him have too often — getting shelled for six hits and four runs in six innings of work.
#2 You don’t see Bumgarner have too many nights like that, but on Sunday, the Arizona Diamondbacks got to him early scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
#3 The Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski, who hit three home runs on Saturday, hit a triple on Sunday. He’s been a hitting machine during the Diamondbacks series.
#4 Zack Greinke, the Diamondbacks pitcher, was supposed to start, but Merrill Kelly (9-12) got the call for Arizona pitching 5.2 innings, six hits, one run earned, two walks, five strikeouts and didn’t allow a home run.
#5 The San Francisco Giants’ Tyler Beede (3-7, 3.77 ERA) will open up the first game in Chicago Tuesday night. The Cubs will start Cole Hammels (6-4, 3.69 ERA).