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Diamondbacks Game Preview #94: Is Madison Bumgarner at a Crossroads in Arizona?

The trade dead line is just 10 days away

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks

Chase Field, 5:10 P.M. Arizona Time, 8:10 P.M EDT


Pitching matchup:

Anibal Sanchez: 0-1, 7.20 ERA vs Madison Bumgarner: 5-9, 3.83 ERA

When I last had a chance to speak with Madison Bumgarner he was coming off a 4th of July victory and expressing pride at having the opportunity to pitch on that day and how much it meant to him. It wasn’t a great outing, but he and the team overcame some early runs allowed to beat the Giants 5-3. His next start on July 9th was his best of the year with a game score of 62 . He went 7 innings giving up just two runs without walking a batter against the Padres in a 9-2 Diamondbacks victory.

Unfortunately his last outing before the break on July 15th against those same Padres was one of his worst. He gave up 5 runs, 4 earned, allowing 8 hits and issuing 4 walks in just 5 innings of work. The 32 game score was his second worst of the year.

For the year Bumgarner has started 19 games, thrown 96 innings and has a 3.83 ERA and a 4.59 FIP. On June 17th those numbers were 3.45 ERA, 5.01 FIP, an unsustainable gap. At the time I wrote that either the FIP needed to come down (due to a combination of fewer walks and homers and more K’s) or the ERA would likely go up significantly. Both happened. The ERA/FIP gap has dropped from 1.56 to 0.76, as the FIP has improved, but the ERA increased.

While posting a sub 4 ERA and eating innings certainly has value to this and any club, It’s important to remember to put those numbers in context. MLB run scoring averages are way down in 2022, (despite the adoption of the universal DH in the NL).

MLB avg. ERA

2019: 4.49

2020: 4.44

2021: 4.26

2022: 4.00

On top of that, Chase field, his home park, is no longer playing as a hitters park. Since the adoption of the Humidor in 2018, and the switch to artificial turf in 2019, the park has trended towards neutral or even pitcher friendly over the last few years.

As a result of these factors, Bumgarner’s 106 ERA+ is barely above league average. (Average = 100)

His value metrics are also right around average, WAA (Wins above average) -0.1

On the other hand if one looks at the percentiles section of his Statcast page, it’s a sea of blue, which from the scouts perspective is not good.

It’s impossible to know how this or any other team might feel about his trade value. Given the amount they would likely need to eat on his contract the Diamondbacks may have no interest in trading him at all. Perhaps they value his ability to eat innings and get quick outs when he has his best command and his veteran presence more than other teams mights.

Bumgarner is still owed approximately $47M on his contract through 2024. (I’m not factoring in deferrals, eventually it all has to be paid). It breaks out like this:

2022- 10M, 2023- 23M, 2024- 14M

It’s impossible to say how much of that $47M the team would have to absorb should they engage in trade talks. Pitching is always in high demand at the trade deadline, and a couple of strong starts before August 2nd may increase the interest other teams have in him, and more importantly, increase the amount of his salary they would be willing to take on.

Torey Lovullo and Corbin Martin Notes

Torey confirmed that Corbin Martin will be the starter tomorrow.

Zach Davies felt good after his bullpen yesterday, no issues came out of that

Ketel Marte is feeling great , was only removed from game late to get him off his feet

Martin spoke about the challenges of pitching in Reno, finding consistency, repeatability, and curveball location. (Avoiding middle middle, but not throwing a non competitive pitch)