All we have been hearing in the press since last September is how the Giants will and have to trade Madison Bumgarner**. Is there any internal talk of possibly extending the contract of the ace and workhorse of the staff, World Series MVP and franchise icon? They don't come around
All we have been hearing in the press since last September is how the Giants will and have to trade Madison Bumgarner. Is there any internal talk of possibly extending the contract of the ace and workhorse of the staff, World Series MVP and franchise icon? They don't come around that often!
-- Zach E., Flagstaff, Ariz.
I think the chances of the Giants extending Bumgarner are extremely slim, simply because the team already has too much money tied up in other veteran players. Bequeathing another big contract to Bumgarner would only handcuff the organization further, which wouldn’t make much sense now that they’ve entered a rebuild.
While the most likely scenario is that Bumgarner is traded before the July 31 Trade Deadline, it’s also possible that the Giants could hold on to their longtime ace and extend him a qualifying offer at the end of the season. If Bumgarner were to reject the offer and sign with another club, the Giants would receive compensation in the form of a pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. This scenario would probably only unfold if the Giants feel they aren’t being offered fair returns in trade talks for Bumgarner, though.
Any thoughts on the Yankees getting Bumgarner?
I think the Bumgarner-to-New-York speculation naturally ramped up after the Braves bolstered their rotation by signing free agent Dallas Keuchel last week. The Yankees were one of the teams that pursued Keuchel, so they’ll have to pivot to trade targets now that he’s off the board. Bumgarner will be one of the most established arms available, and I think one of his biggest draws will be his reputation as a big-game pitcher and his ability to thrive on the biggest stage.
The Yankees are among the contenders that have been scouting him this season, but one potential wrinkle is that they’re included on Bumgarner’s no-trade list, so he’d have to approve any deal to the Bronx. He should be motivated to waive his no-trade protection, however, as players who are dealt midseason aren’t eligible for qualifying offers, which would make him an unfettered free agent at the end of the year.
Why do the Giants refuse to give Tyler Austin consistent at-bats? He's got some pop and seems like he's pretty good from what we've seen, so what gives?
-- Joaquin M., Clovis, Calif.
Austin has been a nice pickup for the Giants, but his splits are pretty pronounced. He’s batting .286 with a .968 OPS and four home runs against left-handed pitchers this year, but he’s hit only .138 with a .504 OPS and one homer against righties. While Austin has carved out a nice role for himself as a lefty masher, the Giants prefer to platoon him with a left-handed hitter like Mike Yastrzemski to create more favorable matchups and try to maximize their lineup’s production.
Who do you think will represent the Giants at the All-Star Game in Cleveland this year?
-- Mark A., Santa Cruz, Calif.
I think the best bet will probably be left-hander Will Smith, who has dominated as the club’s closer this season. He is a perfect 14-for-14 in save opportunities and has a 2.19 ERA, with just five walks and 35 strikeouts over 24 2/3 innings.
Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.