D-backs DFA struggling Madison Bumgarner

April 21st, 2023

PHOENIX -- One day after watching him give up seven runs in three innings and just over three seasons into a five-year, $85 million contract, the D-backs on Thursday designated left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner for assignment.

Left-hander Anthony Misiewicz was recalled from Triple-A Reno in a corresponding move.

“I think the recent performance over the first part of the season, in totality, kind of adding up start after start, trying to live through as long as we could, knowing that we wanted it to turn around,” D-backs GM Mike Hazen said before the club's 7-5 loss to the Padres. “We didn't see that as of yesterday, and so we made the decision.”

Bumgarner finished his tenure in Arizona with a 15-32 mark and a 5.23 ERA in 69 starts. He can now be traded or claimed by another team off waivers within seven days.

“Just not very good,” Bumgarner said of his Wednesday start. “Haven't been very good. It's frustrating. I obviously am trying to do better, putting in the work, it just hasn't shown up yet.”

The D-backs continued to hope that some way, some how, Bumgarner would turn things around. Hazen and his staff began seriously considering this move after Bumgarner struggled last Friday night in Miami.

Hazen talked with managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall about the situation following that game because they would need to sign off on releasing a pitcher who is still owed around $34 million.

“They asked me for my recommendations, I make my recommendations and they tell me to do what I need to do to win baseball games,” Hazen said. “So we made those recommendations, and they agreed with them.”

A key driver in making the decision now is that the D-backs are off to a good start.

“I've thought about that word ‘urgency’ over the last 48 hours,” Hazen said. “And, yes, I think that I ask our players and staff to have urgency around how we’re going to play and attack. And so I have to do the same thing. I can’t be a hypocrite and ask for that and not do it in my job. So that was part of the reason we made a decision. The team has played its butts off over the first three weeks of the season, frankly.”

Hazen delivered the news face to face to Bumgarner when the team arrived back from St. Louis on Wednesday night.

The financial impact of the move won’t impact the D-backs' spending this year, as Bumgarner was going to be paid regardless. Next year, though, it’s possible that the money owed to Bumgarner could limit the D-backs' flexibility, but the team does not determine its budget until the winter, so it’s hard to know exactly what it will do to it.

“Next year’s money is the dead money where you theoretically could have done something with, maybe, but we'll see,” Hazen said. “And in the end, look, I was told to do what needs to be done to win baseball games.”

And given the starting-pitching depth the D-backs have, they felt like those options gave them a better chance to win games than Bumgarner did.

While Misiewicz was called up to fill a spot on the roster, is expected to get called up to take Bumgarner’s start Monday against the Royals. was also a candidate, but he was scheduled to start Thursday for Reno, which meant the D-backs would have had to juggle the schedule to have him ready for Monday. Pfaadt is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the D-backs' No. 3 prospect.

“Tommy deserves his opportunity, as well,” Hazen said. “He’s throwing the ball down there and was up here last year and threw very well for us for eight weeks. Brandon is going to pitch up here, and he's going to be a very good player for us. And it's going to come. But it's not going to come right this second”

Henry will give the D-backs three rookies in their rotation, along with Drey Jameson and Ryne Nelson.

“They can all pitch,” Lovullo said. “Some of them are already showing it right now. There's going to be some volatility, for sure. We know that, but they all have really good stuff.”