Why chances of a Bumgarner-Giants reunion seem slim

April 22nd, 2023

This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado’s Giants Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

SAN FRANCISCO -- ’s disappointing four-year run with the D-backs came to an unceremonious end on Thursday, when he was designated for assignment after recording a 10.26 ERA through his first four starts of the year. 

With the D-backs off to a strong start -- they entered Saturday leading the National League West with a 12-9 record -- they felt they could no longer afford to stick with Bumgarner, who went 15-32 with a 5.23 ERA after leaving the Giants to sign a five-year, $85 million deal with Arizona following the 2019 season. 

The D-backs are expected to eat the remaining $34 million left on Bumgarner’s contract, creating an uncertain future for one of the greatest postseason pitchers in Major League history. 

The Giants have developed a reputation for helping to rehabilitate starters in recent years and orchestrated an emotional sendoff for fellow fan-favorite last month, but a reunion with Bumgarner seems unlikely given the current depth of the pitching staff.  

Even with Alex Wood (hamstring strain) on the injured list, the Giants have a full rotation with , , , and . , and can already provide length of the bullpen, and top pitching prospect  isn’t far away, either.         

“He’s obviously one of the most important pitchers in Giants history and a guy that has a ton of respect from the players on this club and this city,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Bumgarner. “Our pitching staff is in a pretty good position right now. We’ve got starting pitchers. We have a full bullpen. Thinking about our club, we’re in a good position. Obviously, Madison is a great pitcher, as well.”  

Bumgarner logged a 3.13 ERA over his 11 seasons in San Francisco, winning three World Series titles and earning four All-Star nods during his iconic tenure with the orange and black. The 33-year-old left-hander didn’t look like the same pitcher in Arizona, though, as he experienced a significant drop in velocity that hampered his effectiveness on the mound. 

While the Giants might not be the best fit for Bumgarner, perhaps he could find a landing spot with the Rangers, who are now managed by Bruce Bochy. Despite Bumgarner’s recent struggles, Webb said he still believes his former Giants teammate is capable of making a comeback and showing that he still has something left in the tank. 

“I feel like in sports, there’s always times where I think guys just might need a change of scenery,” Webb said. “In this case, he’s still 33 years old. He’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball for a long time. Maybe there’s a couple tweaks that he might need to do that the Diamondbacks weren’t seeing. I’m excited to see where this takes him. He’s still Madison Bumgarner.”