Let’s shut down the hot-take machine first: Professional athletes are grown adults who can make their own decisions. If the Giants wanted to prohibit Madison Bumgarner from specific activities, that was their right to do so when they negotiated their ace lefty’s multi-year contract. Monday morning quarterbacking and moralizing about what an athlete should and should not be able to do smacks of know-it-all paternalism. It’s a bad look.
The injuries suffered by Bumgarner during a dirt-bike ride in Denver, however, will hurt. The Giants rank 22nd in the majors so far this year in park-adjusted offense. Left field has been a black hole. Denard Span and Eduardo Nunez can barely hit balls out of the infield. And the bench has been catastrophically awful.
That shifts the onus onto San Francisco’s starting rotation. Which is terrible news, because Giants starters rank dead last in MLB this season in park-adjusted ERA. Only one Giants starter boasts a fielding-independent pitching number under 4.00 ... and that’s Bumgarner, whose ribs-and-shoulder setback could keep him out until mid-June. Throw in one of the oldest rosters in the league and a lack of high-impact prospects in the high minors, and it’s already time to get nervous.