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MadBum 'sets a presence' in D-backs camp

Lefty negotiating with Chafin for jersey No. 40 compensation
@SteveGilbertMLB
February 12, 2020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Apparently agreeing on a five-year, $85 million free-agent contract with the D-backs this offseason was easier for Madison Bumgarner than negotiating with left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin. Chafin gave up jersey No. 40, which he had worn since coming to the big leagues in 2014, to Bumgarner, who

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Apparently agreeing on a five-year, $85 million free-agent contract with the D-backs this offseason was easier for Madison Bumgarner than negotiating with left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin.

Chafin gave up jersey No. 40, which he had worn since coming to the big leagues in 2014, to Bumgarner, who wore that number during his 11 years with the Giants.

As pitchers and catchers went through their first workout of Spring Training on Wednesday, the two pitchers had yet to decide on the appropriate level of compensation.

“He was good about it,” Bumgarner said of Chafin. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to go at first, but it was not a big deal. We’re still working on it. I’m going to do something for him. We’ve been kind of talking through some stuff. I want to take care of him because that is a big deal for him to do that.”

Chafin and Bumgarner both share a love of the outdoors and horses.

Maybe Chafin should ask Bumgarner to buy him a horse?

“Everybody says, ‘Horse, horse, horse,’” Chafin said. “I’m like, 'No.' The horse is the cheap part. Then you have to feed it, you’ve got to take care of it, clean up after it. It’s a whole lot more work.”

They both wear cowboy boots, how about a nice pair of them?

“There ain’t a boot worth enough for that,” Chafin said.

Chafin at one point a few years ago lived in an RV during Spring Training. How about an upgraded RV?

“I already got one of the best ones they make,” Chafin said. “I’m not so worried about that.”

How about a new pickup truck?

“I wish,” Chafin said. “That would be nice.”

Has that been talked about?

“I’m not at liberty to discuss,” Chafin said. “We’re still behind closed doors with it.”

Is there a deadline?

“Yeah,” Chafin said with a sly grin. “Probably right after we figure it out.”

Spring Training FAQ

All kidding aside, Chafin was more than happy to give up the number if it meant having Bumgarner wear the same uniform.

“He seems like a really good dude,” Chafin said. “I haven’t had a chance to really get to know him well yet, but just the way he carries himself -- he comes in, he works hard, he does his job and goes home. You can’t ask for much more than that from a guy. We’ve got some fight in us now and we’re going to go out and fight tooth and nail to the end. It’s crucial to a team to have somebody that will help everybody get going in the right direction when we need it. That’s something he’ll be able to do for us. I’m looking forward to it.”

Bumgarner admitted that he’s still getting used to seeing himself wearing a D-backs hat, and getting around his new surroundings at Salt River Fields has been a challenge.

“I’m hoping pretty soon,” he said about settling in. “Still trying to find my way around this place. It’s a little different. It’s bigger. I feel really good about this club and excited to get it started. Even the Spring Training games, just to get back in that game atmosphere.”

Bumgarner will take it slowly this spring, a program he adopted after his first or second big league season. While he plays catch and gets his legs in shape during the winter he doesn’t throw his first bullpen until he gets to Spring Training.

“I don’t try to be in midseason form the first day,” the 30-year-old lefty said. “I would like to be. It would be nice, but it just don’t work that way.”

The D-backs have placed Bumgarner in a work group with a number of their younger pitchers so they can see up close what it takes to have the level of success he’s had.

Even those not in his group, though, have taken note.

“When you bring a guy like him in the clubhouse it sets a presence and it brings excitement to guys,” closer Archie Bradley said. “And I’m excited to have him here."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.