We just debuted “McDeep Dive”, our new series that will spotlight one Giants player every day for a week. We’ll move backwards and forwards through time, look at on the field stuff, off the field stuff, and see if we can learn something new about them. Here’s part 6 of our look at Madison Bumgarner.
It doesn’t matter if you think the Giants should trade Madison Bumgarner for a haul of prospects that can help them reload, it’s not going to happen. You might think that you’re right and the Giants are wrong — it’s the only way to keep open a window of contention without a lengthy rebuild! — but even if you are right and the Giants are wrong, the Giants won’t ever trade Madison Bumgarner.
Letting him go in free agency? That’s a possibility. But over the course of the next season and a half, he’s going to remain with the Giants, for better or worse.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s consider what we’re about to see over that same time span: trade rumors! Lots and lots of trade rumors! Great teams wanting a postseason ace to give them and their fans that extra piece of mind that they’re going to win it all! National media types just throwing things out there after talking to their anonymous sources, and all for the headline!
The Giants will never trade Madison Bumgarner because he’s the soul of the team. He’s the gruff flannel sheet that covers over all the cracks and holes in the foundation. The Giants don’t have a rotation! Oh, but they do have Bumgarner. The injuries have sapped the lineup of home run power! Oh, here’s Bumgarner pinch hitting and DH’ing for some reason!
He’s a tough guy proxy for old men in suits, season ticket holders, and old school managers who feel most alive the closer baseball feels to the wild west. Bumgarner’s a gunslinger, ornery, and, most importantly, a man of few words. He embodies the “Speak softly and carry a big stick” mentality that most in the industry seem to embrace. As a side note, I wonder how many baseball players and coaches even know who Teddy Roosevelt was.
Bumgarner has been everything the Giants hoped he would be and more. He’s carried them, made them look better than they are, and been a personality type that goes against what everyone assumes about the Bay Area and the team itself: An illiberal badass pitcher fits perfectly with the culture of an effete limousine liberal organization known only for its offense in the franchise’s history.
The City has embraced him as he’s embraced them. The trade rumors and Buster Olney’s “industry insiders” always fail to consider that part. Instead, they talk about how “for a team heading in the wrong direction in the standings and talent depth-wise, holding onto a postseason ace makes little sense.” And then suggest that the Giants would be willing to accept 2nd-class prospects to help out another team.
From our esteemed network colleagues at Pinstripe Alley:
Guys like Clint Frazier, Estevan Florial, and Justus Sheffield should intrigue the Giants, even if they decide to hold onto him. The problem in this situation is that San Francisco would really need to be blown away by a deal to move their ace, but there’s no way the Yankees are trading the likes of Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. Brian Cashman would be hard pressed to find a better addition to the rotation, so if the Giants are willing to listen, hopefully New York can put together a strong enough package.
There’s no combination of players who will make the Giants bite. Bumgarner is the team’s culture. More than Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval.
That’s what they said about Verlander! That’s what they said about Gerrit Cole! That’s what they said about Cole Hamels!
All true, but none of them did what Bumgarner did in the 2014 postseason. That’s when he went from great pitcher to legend. Skipped right over that “ace” designation — I mean, it’s in there, but it’s obscured by “legend”. The Giants are not going to trade a living legend.