- It's unlikely the Giants will move their ace before the start of the season, but we've got some trade proposals that will pique your interest.
Let's be abundantly clear: All of the SI.com MLB staff thinks it's, at best, highly unlikely that Madison Bumgarner, Giants postseason legend and one of the game's elite lefthanded pitchers, will be traded this winter. It'd be an incredibly ambitious first move from new team president Farhan Zaidi, who the Giants hired away from the Dodgeres, to trade a franchise icon. But San Francisco is coping with some difficult practical realities: Bumgarner is entering the last year of a highly affordable contract, the franchise is saddled with an aging roster, and the team is 137–187 over the last two years after winning three World Series titles from 2010–2014.
So even if the Giants likely won't trade Bumgarner before the beginning of the 2019 season, it's worth discussing if they should. If not, is midseason a better option? Or should they just hang onto the ace and try and make the postseason in the final year of Bumgarner's contract?
Emma Baccellieri: Giants trade Madison Bumgarner to Brewers for RP Corbin Burnes, minor-league SS Mauricio Dubon, minor-league C Mario Feliciano
The Brewers need starting pitching. They have plenty of young relief pitching. It makes sense for them to deal from this area of depth, then, and Burnes seems like a logical choice for a centerpiece. The 23-year-old made his big-league debut last year, after converting from a starter's role in Triple-A, and he was sharp out of the bullpen down the stretch for Milwaukee. This should be perfect for the Giants, who are likely hoping to avoid an especially lengthy rebuild and trying to focus on players who are either ready for the majors or very close to it. Add a second piece in Dubon, a solid prospect who should be in the big leagues this year and could also slot in at second base, especially if there's continued struggle from current Giants 2B Joe Panik. Throw in something of a lottery ticket in 20-year-old catcher Mario Feliciano, who has shown promise but still has all the risk that comes with a young catching prospect, and you've got a package.
Stephanie Apstein: Giants trade SP Madison Bumgarner to Yankees for package of prospects led by P Domingo Acevedo
I don’t actually think Bumgarner is going anywhere at this point. I don’t see a way for either side to feel it got surplus value—Bumgarner is not that cheap at $12 million and with one remaining year of club control, and the Giants would need substantial prospects to part with their ace. This makes more sense to me as a deadline rental, when teams feel they are a piece away. But if a deal were to happen now, how about the Yankees? GM Brian Cashman has been telling anyone who will listen that he plans to trade righty Sonny Gray, but Cashman recently admitted that lefty CC Sabathia’s December angioplasty has “given us pause.” If New York wants Gray out of town so badly but needs to bolster its rotation, going after Bumgarner could make sense. And his history as a postseason hero suggests he would have no problems under the bright lights. The Yankees are flush with pitching prospects; someone like fireballing righty Domingo Acevedo could make sense as a player close to the majors but with plenty of upside.
Ben Reiter: Giants trade SP Madison Bumgarner to Yankees for OF Estevan Florial and P Domingo German
I don’t believe Bumgarner is going anywhere this winter, due to a combination of reasons. One: there might not be another player in the game who is as important to the fabric of an organization, or to its fanbase, than he is to the Giants, and that sort of value—though emotional, not economic—is real. Two: he’s only got one year left on his contract, and clubs don’t tend to sacrifice top prospects for one-year rentals anymore. Three: though he’s only 29, he's already thrown 1,638 regular season innings (plus 102 additional magical postseason frames), and his stuff is starting to fade a bit. So the likely move for new team president Farhan Zaidi will be to hold onto him until mid-summer, in order to give the Giants one more shot at contention or to give Bumgarner a chance to reestablish his dominance. However, if the Yankees try to shoot the pitching moon by coughing up a package like the above—with the 21-year-old Florial, a five-tooler who has yet to play in Double-A, being the prize—then Zaidi’s hand will be forced.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: Giants trade SP Madison Bumgarner to Brewers for SS/2B Mauricio Dubon, OF Troy Stokes Jr. and one B/C prospect
The Giants should try and pry top prospect Keston Huira, who looks like the second coming of Dustin Pedroia, but it's unlikely the Brewers would part with a big-league ready bat and middle infielder of the future for one year of Bumgarner. It's impossible to predict what Zaidi, the GM responsible for finding unknown quantities Chris Taylor and Max Muncy, will see when he scours any top prospect list, but Dubon, a 24-year-old contact specialist, and Stokes, a speedy outfielder with plus power, look like the kind of versatile players whose skillsets are moldable and usable at the big league level. The Giants need to stockpile talent, so expect San Francisco to try and bring in a haul of players if it moves its star pitcher.