The San Francisco Giants 2023 MLB campaign hasn’t gotten off to a great start. The Giants currently find themselves with a 14-17 record, which places them four games behind the National League West leading Los Angeles Dodgers. For much of the past decade, starting pitching has been the primary asset that allowed the Giants to compete for a spot in the playoffs. Their offense is a weakness once again this year, so it makes sense for San Francisco diehards to dream about reunion with former Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner is a three-time World Series champion with the Giants, and his postseason run in 2014 was the stuff of legends. Even after he decided to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks in free agency back in 2019, the Bay Area fanbase’s love and appreciation for Bumgarner has always remained evident. Arizona opted to designate Bumgarner for assignment back in April, though, which means he can sign with any franchise now.
It would be nice to see Bumgarner return to San Fran to close out his career, and there’s no doubt that fans would love the move. But even with Bumgarner drawing a fairly limited amount of interest so far, and the prospect of a long-awaited reunion lingering, the Giants must realize that bringing Bumgarner back is a move that wouldn’t serve much of a benefit to their current team.
The Giants should be focusing on their youngsters
The Giants must face the facts and accept that they likely won’t be seriously competing for a playoff spot this season. The National League is very deep currently, so San Francisco must focus on developing their farm system and getting some of their young prospects to the Major League level. San Fran did sign veterans such as Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling over the offseason to bolster their rotation, but if the team continues to struggle, they will likely be moved at some point this season.
The formula of adding veterans to the core group the Giants are currently rolling with is not the suggested approach. The Giants are renowned for finding gems like Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey from within their farm system, so it makes sense to rebuild a bit rather than rushing their development process by signing veteran free agents like Bumgarner.
If the Giants decide to add Bumgarner to their 40-man roster, chances are they will need to sacrifice one of their prospects by removing them from the roster for a veteran who has been struggling. Signing Bumgarner would be more of a short-term experiment for the Giants, but why must they do that if they are not expecting a deep postseason run?
Madison Bumgarner’s numbers have dwindled
Even though Bumgarner is a three-time World Series champ, his numbers have taken a sharp drop over the past few years. Batters have figured out how to put the ball in play against Bumgarner, and the worst part of that is that his home run numbers have escalated during this stretch. Some pitchers do not age smoothly, and Bumgarner is one of them.
Bumgarner has remained unsigned for the last two weeks now, and it seems like he may have to switch to a new role, such as a long reliever, if he wants to find a new home. As a former ace, it is obviously going to be difficult for Bumargner to accept, but he will need to do that if he wants to continue to pitch in the MLB.
In his four starts in 2023, Bumgarner has tallied a hideous 10.26 ERA, which makes it very tough to rely on him when he takes the hill. Furthermore, his 15-32 record and 5.23 ERA during his entire stint with the Diamondbacks shows why they opted to move on from him. There are sentimental reasons for the Giants to bring back Bumgarner, but from a pure baseball perspective, it would be very tough to justify this decision, which is why San Fran should pass on their former ace.
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