Good morning, McCoven.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 24 hours (or, you know, were out enjoying a weekend with your friends and family during the holiday season) you already know that Madison Bumgarner has agreed to a five year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It’s going to take me some time to completely come to terms with how I feel about this, and I imagine many of you are going through the same thing. I honestly didn't expect to be this upset about it, but I guess my issue is more about the process than the fact that he's gone. I expected to say goodbye to him because another team blew the Giants’ offer out of the water. But I guess I overestimated the health of the free agency process.
Meanwhile, my friends who are casual fans are describing it as going through the phases of the grieving process.
My initial thoughts are salty. Early reports after the announcement indicated that the Giants made their decision months ago and never really intended to bring Bumgarner back, but were instead just going through the motions. Then the spin dance began, with various reporters trying (intentionally or otherwise) to help the organization cover their metaphorical backside.
“Of course the Giants were interested! They just offered a year less! So it's actually Bumgarner’s fault, you see!”
But it comes down to this: the reports during the off season mostly indicated that Bumgarner wanted to return. He ended up agreeing to a deal that was slanted in the Diamondbacks’ favor, including deferrals. And we’re somehow supposed to believe that the Giants couldn’t have offered him something better. Despite paying other current players more. Players they signed when the process was healthier.
Well, “couldn’t” is doing a lot of work in that sentence above, in my opinion. It’s more likely that they just wouldn’t. The process is broken now. The money is there, they chose not to spend it on a fan favorite player.
And that’s maybe not the best move for an organization that just keeps taking PR hit after PR hit. But what do I know.
It’s hard to argue why they made this decision, without sounding like a surrogate for the owners or front office. The team isn’t better without Bumgarner. They touted a big starting pitcher deal, aside from Bumgarner, that turned out to be Kevin Grausman coming off of a cruddy year.
That should really tell you all you need to know about the direction of this team. Don’t expect attempts to sign big name talent. Expect a never-ending search for a diamond in the rough so that the guys in the front office can brag about knowing more than everyone else once every few years or so and the owners can pocket more money.
“But the draft pick!” some may shout. Sure, if your thing is gambling on draft picks that most likely will not pan out as well in five years as having Bumgarner on your team.
Am I being unfair? Sure. Have they earned any generosity of spirit from me over the last twelve months? Nah. Am I going to allow myself space to change my mind in the near or not so near future? Sure, that’s how these things go.
But this is my opinion as of right now. I’m not going to tell you how you should feel about it, other than to say that if your response is to reaction-police how other fans feel about it, maybe don’t be that guy.