SP Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants
Contract: 5 years, $35 million ($7 million/year)
We could wrap this slide up in one word: playoffs. What Madison Bumgarner did in the 2014 playoffs may never be matched again. Fans probably do not appreciate just how good he was in October for the Giants. He may not be as good as Clayton Kershaw, and the resumes in the regular season clearly favor Kershaw.
But considering that the Dodgers’ lefty has gone haywire, in a matter of speaking, when the calendar has turned to October, it’s clear the more valuable contract is the one held by the Giants. Heck, there’s about a $23 million per season difference.
The Dodgers could be paying four Bumgarners for the price they’re paying one Kershaw. Or another way to put it is that they could afford all five players in the undervalued column—two starting pitchers, two first baseman (one who can play other positions) and a catcher who excels calling games and saving runs through pitch framing.
It’s not a very sabermetrics sort of way to look at things, but looking within the same division and seeing the Dodgers pay Kershaw as they are, the Giants have to be laughing their heads off.
Even if the Giants continue their pattern of winning a World Series and missing the playoffs altogether the next this season, they still have to look and see that the 25-year-old Bumgarner has been a key part of three world championship teams.
Kershaw, meanwhile, has one postseason win against five losses and a 5.12 ERA. Most of that is on him.
Next: This lefty ain't bad either