Sources: Giants open to Bumgarner trade talks
In nearly three weeks as the Giants' president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi has said very little publicly about his plans for ace Madison Bumgarner.
All the while, a trade involving Bumgarner has become more realistic.
Multiple sources indicated Monday that the Giants are willing to engage with other teams about the possibility of dealing their ace and three-time World Series champion. The Brewers and Phillies are among the teams that have had at least preliminary dialogue about trading for Bumgarner, sources say.
The Braves also checked in with the Giants regarding Bumgarner earlier this offseason, sources say, but there are no active talks or optimism for a trade with Atlanta.
Broadly speaking, the circumstances are ripe for Bumgarner to be dealt. Zaidi has been given broad latitude to reshape the organization, and a trade of Bumgarner would begin to replenish a farm system that is not among the best in baseball. Bumgarner is under contract for only one more season at $12 million, meaning he's due to reach free agency before the culmination of even the most rapid rebuild.
If Zaidi does not find a deal to his liking in the coming weeks, he can wait and put Bumgarner on the market again prior to the Trade Deadline, when his postseason experience would make him one of the most appealing players available.
Sources say Zaidi is likely to ask for at least one high-end pitching prospect in any Bumgarner trade. According to MLB Pipeline, only one of the Giants' top five prospects is a pitcher: right-hander Shaun Anderson, a 24-year-old viewed as a mid-rotation Major League starter.
The Phillies are known to covet a left-hander to complement their right-handed-dominant rotation, whether Patrick Corbin or J.A. Happ via free agency or Bumgarner in trade. If the Phillies refuse to trade top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, Zaidi could ask for right-hander Adonis Medina, whom Philadelphia was prepared to trade to Baltimore in July for a half-season of Manny Machado.
Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin -- included in recent trade talks with the Diamondbacks about Paul Goldschmidt, according to The Athletic's Jayson Stark -- is another candidate to be involved in Bumgarner negotiations.
Meanwhile, Zaidi saw Brewers right-handers Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff in person during the National League Championship Series last month, in his former capacity as general manager of the Dodgers. Burnes and Woodruff pitched effectively in relief during the NLCS, but are viewed as long-term starters and fit the profile of arms the Giants would want in exchange for Bumgarner.
The Brewers drafted Burnes in 2016 from St. Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., a little more than 20 miles away from AT&T Park.
On the surface, the Braves appear well-positioned to build a compelling offer for Bumgarner based on their pitching-heavy farm system. Their top four prospects according to MLB Pipeline -- Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, and Touki Toussaint -- are hard-throwing right-handers. But there's no momentum for Bumgarner to be dealt to the Braves, who are beloved by many fans in his home state of North Carolina.