SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Except for a fresh haircut, Madison Bumgarner was the same as ever when he arrived in camp Wednesday.Whether the subject when he spoke with reporters was millions of dollars or his own status as the Giants' ace, Bumgarner displayed his usual disdain for topics that have little
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Except for a fresh haircut, Madison Bumgarner was the same as ever when he arrived in camp Wednesday.
Whether the subject when he spoke with reporters was millions of dollars or his own status as the Giants' ace, Bumgarner displayed his usual disdain for topics that have little or nothing to do with winning ballgames.
An exception was Jeff Samardzija, obtained in free agency along with fellow right-hander Johnny Cueto to bolster San Francisco's starting rotation.
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"I was actually kind of hoping that they would go after him and get a chance to sign him before there was even any talk about it," Bumgarner said of Samardzija. "So I'm super-excited about that."
Asked why Samardzija attracted his attention before the recent offseason, Bumgarner replied, "I just like him. He's my kind of guy, I think, just from watching him [from] the other side. He's one of the guys I was really excited over. I thought he'd be a good fit for us and the clubhouse and the way we like to play baseball."
By phone, Bumgarner and Samardzija grew more acquainted with each other during the offseason.
"He talked at me about hunting and I talked at him about fishing," said a grinning Samardzija. "We're two 'Type A' personalities, two guys who enjoy getting after it. I love to hear passionate people, and smart passionate people. Madison's definitely that."
Bumgarner also sounded upbeat about the acquisitions of Cueto -- "Everybody's seen what kind of pitcher he is every year" -- and center fielder Denard Span -- "I don't know the numbers, but I feel like he's always fared pretty well against me." For the record, Span owns a .250 career batting average (3-for-12, all singles, including three strikeouts and a sacrifice fly) against Bumgarner.
However, Bumgarner had little appetite for discussing his third consecutive Opening Day start, scheduled for April 4 at Milwaukee.
"I don't really like to talk about personal accomplishments," he said. "But it is a pretty special accomplishment for your manager to have that kind of confidence in you."
Bumgarner also declined to prolong a discussion about the irony of being the Giants' lowest-paid starting pitcher, despite his No. 1 status and multiple feats in the 2014 postseason. He's slated to earn $9.75 million under terms of a deal he signed in April 2012. That figure pales beside the salaries of Matt Cain ($20 million), Cueto ($15 million), Jake Peavy ($13 million) and Samardzija ($12 million -- $9 million in salary and $3 million from a signing bonus).
Asked if he felt tempted to demand a renegotiated contract to correct the inequity, Bumgarner said, "No, not at all. I'm extremely happy for those guys. Hopefully, if everything goes the way that I want it to go and what I work for, that'll come along in due time. But I'm not worried about it."
As for trimming the flowing, near-shoulder-length locks he wore last year, Bumgarner had a simple explanation.
"I just got tired of messing with it," he said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.