15. Madison Bumgarner
After going back and forth for weeks as the trade deadline approached, the San Francisco Giants decided to press their luck and try and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The hot streak that had convinced the front office there was a non-zero chance to claim a Wild Card ended shortly after July 31 and the Giants limped to another losing season. Even with the failed playoff run, maybe it was worth it to try for one last hurrah with franchise legend and World Series hero Madison Bumgarner.
If this year was the end of Bumgarner’s time in San Francisco, it was quite a memorable 11 years. The left-hander went 119-92 with a 3.13 ERA, made four All-Star Games and had a 2.11 ERA in over 100 playoff innings, including a 4-0 record and 0.25 ERA in the team’s three World Series wins. Injuries derailed the final three seasons of Bumgarner’s eight-year extension with the Giants, but he was still better than league average.
Bumgarner enters free agency on the heels of his first 200-inning season since 2016. He was 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 2019, but went 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA over his final 18 starts of the season and held opponents to a .225/.272/.403 slash line. Bumgarner is still capable of dialing up month-long stretches of elite pitching.
The Giants bought out eight years of the left-hander’s prime for only $58 million and he has already thrown close to 2,000 MLB innings across the regular and postseasons. That’s a lot of work, even if Bumgarner is only 30. It’s anyone’s best guess how aggressively the Giants plan to work to keep Bumgarner, but he should not give any hometown discounts.