- Left-hander Madison Bumgarner agrees five-year, $85-million deal with Arizona Diamondbacks
- NL West team has also traded away Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke in the last year
- Arizona has made playoffs just once in last eight seasons
Just as they did a year ago when they unloaded All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in a trade to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Arizona Diamondbacks once again made a splash in the off-season by signing former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner.
But though bringing the left-hander in on a five-year, $85-million deal from National League West rival the San Francisco Giants keeps the Diamondbacks ticking over in social media circles, it doesn’t do a whole lot to improve their 2020 World Series odds. Their odds improved to +5000 to win the Fall Classic, down from an average high of +8000 at the start of this month. There are still only five teams in all of baseball with worst odds, and only two of those are in the NL.
2020 World Series Odds
|New York Yankees||+325|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+700|
|Boston Red Sox||+1600|
|New York Mets||+1600|
|Los Angeles Angels||+1600|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1600|
Odds taken Dec. 16.
The one thing that stands out about Bumgarner’s resume is his playoff performances. The holder of the World Series record for lowest earned-run average at 0.25 and a linchpin on three world championship teams with the Giants, “MadBum” has a track record that speaks for itself. He is 8-3 all-time in the playoffs, with a 2.11 ERA over 12 series with San Francisco.
But those Giants teams also made the playoffs four times in a seven-season span. Meanwhile, his new club in Arizona has qualified for the postseason just three times in the last 17 years.
Bumgarner immediately becomes the ace in the Arizona rotation, a rotation that also features Robbie Ray, Merrill Kelly, Alex Young and Luke Weaver. But Ray has been heavily rumored to be on his way out of Chase Field as another prized trade chip, which would further weaken a team that was competitive in 2019, but ultimately missed the second wild-card spot and finished second in the NL West with an 85-77 record.
Robbie Ray, 11Ks in 21 Seconds. pic.twitter.com/drY49ERlbE
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 28, 2019
With the likes of Bumgarner, Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler no longer free agents, the market for left-hander Ray may well firm up in the coming days and weeks. With one year left until he becomes a free agent, the Diamondbacks will likely be trying to move him before losing him for nothing, just as they did a year ago with Goldschmidt.
But what does that do for Arizona’s chances in 2020? Bumgarner helps, and at just 30 years old, he is still in his prime and logged an NL-leading 34 starts last year, posting a 9-9 record with a 3.90 ERA on a Giants team that offered the second-worst run support in the NL and still finished third in the NL West at 77-85.
Outside of the rotation, Arizona received some nice performances from certain individuals in the field in 2019, most notably from first baseman Christian Walker, third baseman Eduardo Escobar and outfielder Ketel Marte. That trio combined for 96 home runs and batted in 283 runs.
Ketel Marte and @escobarmaracay become the 1st pair of NL switch-hitting teammates to each hit 30 HR in a season. pic.twitter.com/6IHUQiRjFD
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) September 5, 2019
The team as a whole combined for 813 runs, good for sixth in the NL and above the league average of 774, so run support shouldn’t be too much of a problem, particularly if Arizona focuses on acquiring a free-agent outfielder, such as Marcell Ozuna or Nick Castellanos.
While Bumgarner’s acquisition does put Arizona in a better position, his sparkling postseason resume would have seen him a better fit for the likes of the Yankees, Dodgers or Braves, teams with designs on playing deep into October. But given that the contract is fairly reasonable, compared to the other deals being thrown around this winter, it shouldn’t prevent contending teams to come calling if they are looking for another established arm ahead of a playoff run.
A four-time All Star and three-time World Series champion, Bumgarner ranks third all-time in postseason ERA and WHIP (min. 10 starts). pic.twitter.com/ToebzCjUpd
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 15, 2019
Arizona has shown it isn’t afraid to ship out stars to benefit the team in the long run, although their willingness might change on the MadBum front if they do indeed trade Ray this off-season.
Pick: It is hard to view the D’Backs as a serious contender or a value bet, mainly given that they seem to show very little commitment to winning in the near term.
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