Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw Praises Madison Bumgarner Amid MLB Free-Agency Rumors

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 14, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in relief in the seventh inning of game five of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw complimented free-agent starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner in light of rumors that the lifetime San Francisco Giant is drawing interest from L.A.

"I love Bum," Kershaw told Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times (h/t Chris Bumbaca of USA Today).

"Great pitcher. Good dude. Great competitor. ... If I was able to play with Mad Bum, it'd be great. He's great."

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Wednesday that the Dodgers had shifted their focus to acquiring Bumgarner after they lost out on MLB strikeout leader Gerrit Cole, who signed with the New York Yankees.

Bumgarner is reportedly interested in joining the Dodgers, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area.

"The Dodgers met with Bumgarner's representatives at the MLB winter meetings," Pavlovic wrote. "It's unclear if the Dodgers will satisfy the Giants ace's salary desires, but Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu are the top options left on the pitching market after a shockingly active week in San Diego, and L.A. would like to add to its rotation."

Bumgarner is looking for a deal north of $100 million, per Pavlovic. San Francisco, where Bumgarner pitched from 2009 through 2019, is still in the mix for his services as well.

Pavlovic reported that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi met with Bumgarner's agents during the winter meetings, although the Giants are not considered to be at the "forefront of discussions."

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Apparently every NL West team not named the Colorado Rockies is looking into Bumgarner as well, so the Dodgers and Giants have some competition.

Jon Heyman of WFAN Radio and MLB Network said the San Diego Padres are taking "close looks" into Bumgarner and Dallas Keuchel, and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wrote the Arizona Diamondbacks and Bumgarner discussed a "significant" deal.

The left-hander went 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 203 strikeouts in 207.2 innings last season. He's been exceptional in postseason play with an 8-3 mark and 2.11 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts). 

Bumgarner has also won three World Series titles with the Giants in 2010, 2012 and 2014, taking home the MVP in the final year.