MLB Trade Rumors: Madison Bumgarner Drawing Interest from Brewers, Phillies

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at AT&T Park on September 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants 3-1. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants "are willing to engage with other teams" about trading starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Monday.

According to Morosi, the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies have had "preliminary dialogue" about acquiring the four-time All-Star.

The Atlanta Braves also had discussions regarding Bumgarner, but there are no "active talks or optimism," per Morosi.

Bumgarner is a fan favorite in the Bay Area after playing a key role in helping the Giants win the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. The veteran left-hander was the National League Championship Series and World Series MVP in 2014.

Because of that, dealing Bumgarner would be unpopular with a large chunk of the fanbase.

Putting emotions aside, the move would make sense as long as the Giants can get back a healthy return.

Bumgarner suffered a fracture in his left hand in March that kept him out until June. When he returned to the mound, he didn't pitch at the standard he has previously set for himself.

According to FanGraphs, Bumgarner posted a 3.99 FIP in 129.2 innings. His rate of 7.57 strikeouts per nine innings was his lowest since 2010, and his average of 2.98 walks per nine innings was a career worst.

More than anything, the Giants are unlikely to contend for a title in 2019. They won 64 games in 2017 and 73 games in 2018. Hiring Farhan Zaidi as the president of baseball operations is a step in the right direction, but it won't drastically change the team's trajectory next season.

Regarding Bumgarner, that's important since he only has one year left on his contract. If they keep Bumgarner, then the Giants would risk losing him in free agency and only getting a compensation pick back.

That gambit is worth it for a team with World Series aspirations. A team in rebuilding mode is better off exploring what kind of trade value Bumgarner has.