Trade winds are starting to swirl around Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers, including four-time All-Star and postseason legend Madison Bumgarner.
At 32-39, the Diamondbacks are more competitive than they were during their 110-loss slog in 2021. Yet they’re still an afterthought in a National League West that’s being dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.
Hence why the trade chatter is picking up as the 2022 season winds toward the Aug. 2 deadline, though Jon Morosi noted on MLB Network on Tuesday that the D-backs won’t necessarily make deals meant to restock their farm system.
This probably means the Snakes won’t trade young right-hander Zac Gallen, but it was only last Thursday that Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that Bumgarner is one of the pitchers for whom Arizona “would entertain offers.”
Heyman also cited a general manager who cautioned that the 32-year-old lefty’s salary might make him untradeable. That may be true, as he’s past his prime and making $23 million this season, and he’s owed another $37 million over the next two campaigns.
And yet, Bumgarner has turned a corner in 2022 after a couple of rough seasons in 2020 and 2021. He’s logged 74.1 innings and a respectable 3.75 ERA through 15 starts, notably with improved fastball velocity.
Even if the Diamondbacks aren’t willing to eat the money remaining on Bumgarner’s deal to make a trade happen, it’s possible they’ll be able to move him anyway. Other trade scenarios include a swap of bad contracts and another team agreeing to take on all of Bumgarner’s remaining money as long as the acquiring club also gets a prospect or two.
With all this in mind, let’s speculate on 10 teams that might pick up the phone and call Arizona GM Mike Hazen about Bumgarner, ranked by the likelihood of a deal.
10. Cleveland Guardians
Record: 36-29 (T-1st in AL Central)
Starting Pitching WAR: 0.4 (27th)
The Guardians’ starting pitching is perhaps better than WAR indicates, but Bumgarner still suits them in theory as a back-end stabilizer with playoff experience. Yet with the club’s payroll all the way down at No. 28 in MLB, it’s the financials that cloud this idea.