Hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, it appears the day we have all been waiting for has arrived. Sources are reporting that Madison Bumgarner has been designated for assignment. If this is true, and there is no reason to suspect it is not, the Diamondbacks now have seven days to trade or release him outright, the latter of which comes with the hefty financial cost of paying out the entirety of the remainder of his contract. Given his pedigree, it is almost certain that teams will wait for him to be released and then someone will come along and offer him an opportunity to make good through a minor league deal which could then turn into a team paying a pro-rated portion of the league minimum salary for him to pitch should he make his way back to the majors.
Sources: Left-hander Madison Bumgarner has been designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks.https://t.co/kPh3nccM1K— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) April 20, 2023
As this is still a developing story, details will be added as they emerge. However, it is fair to say that yesterday’s dumpster fire performance against the Cardinals was as much about confirming suspicions as anything. Furthermore, Bumgarner’s ridiculous on-field shenanigans/behaviour during his shelling yesterday probably did not win him any fans among Arizona’s decision makers.
Updates, by Jim
It looks like the team will be going left-hander for left-hander:
I'm told Tommy Henry will start the next time Madison Bumgarner's turn in the rotation comes around.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) April 20, 2023
Brandon Pfaadt likely remains the “best” pitcher not on the 26-man roster, but the team appears determined to ensure that he retains his rookie status for 2024. However, this does mean the team is going with three rookie starting pitchers in the rotation, something which they explicitly wanted to avoid before the season. Indeed, that was a large part of the rationale behind the signing of Zach Davies. I’m hard pushed to think of any previous time when the team’s rotation skewed so young. The five current starters have just 210 games of major-league experience between them. Merrill Kelly (101), Zac Gallen (85), Tommy Henry (9), Drey Jameson (9, 6 starts), and Ryne Nelson (6).
It also seems appropriate to update the D-backs worst contract list, although the D-backs will remain on the hook for whatever (if anything) Bumgarner does after leaving Arizona, since we will still be paying for it. This year, he was worth -0.9 bWAR across his four starts, bringing his total value over the life of the contract down below replacement level to -0.6 bWAR. When we plug that into the spreadsheet and crunch the numbers, the deal has now surpassed Russ Ortiz in negative value, and is exactly tied with Todd Stottlemyre for #3 on the list - and tied as the worst contract the team has ever given to a pitcher. Here’s how the top five stack up.
[Update #2] And it’s official