Arizona Diamondbacks release former World Series MVP
from MLB Trade Rumors, with Darragh McDonald, and from YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
The Diamondbacks announced that left-hander Madison Bumgarner has been released. The southpaw was designated for assignment last week.
The move doesn’t come as a shock given the combination of his contract and his poor results of late. He and the D-backs agreed to a five-year, $85M deal going into 2020 after the lefty spent a decade as an incredibly effective pitcher for the Giants. Unfortunately, he seemed like a completely different pitcher once he switched jerseys, starting with a 6.48 ERA in the shortened 2020 season. His strikeout rate dropped to 15.8% after being in the mid-20s for much of his earlier career.
Given the strange nature of that year, it didn’t necessarily portend doom for the remainder of the contract. He bounced back somewhat in 2021, getting his strikeouts back up to a 20.2% level and his ERA down to a more respectable 4.67, but he didn’t get back to the dominant levels of his time with the Giants. His strikeouts dipped again to 16% last year as his ERA climbed north a bit to 4.88. Here in 2023, things went even further south, as he was torched for a 10.26 ERA in his first four starts, punching out just 11.1% of opponents while walking 16.7%. As the club shifted to win-now mode and dedicated its rotation spots to young pitchers on the rise, Bumgarner wore out his welcome in Arizona.
His contract still runs through 2024, with a $23M salary this year, leaving about $19M and change left to be paid out before he’ll make $14M next year. Given that hefty financial commitment and his recent struggles on the mound, it’s unsurprising that none of the 29 other clubs were willing to put in a waiver claim and take on that contract, leading to Wednesday’s release.
Bumgarner will now officially return to the open market, free to sign with any club, with the Diamondbacks remaining on the hook for that money. Any club that’s willing to give Bumgarner a shot will only have to pay him the prorated league minimum for any time spent on the roster, with that amount being subtracted from what the D-backs pay. The level of interest he will garner remains to be seen. The minimal financial commitment will certainly be appealing, but that will have to be weighed against his lack of effectiveness this year and in the previous three as well.
Some of the background on Madison Bumgarner from Wikipedia:
Bumgarner was born August 1, 1989, in Hickory, North Carolina, and grew up in an area ten miles away nicknamed “Bumtown” because of the abundance of people with the surname Bumgarner who have lived there over the years after their ancestors had arrived from Germany. He grew up in a log house built by his father, sleeping in a loft. At the age of four, he began playing youth baseball league, for which his father had to sign a waiver because the league was for five- to eight-year-olds. He would not let Madison throw curveballs until he was sixteen. His parents, Kevin and Debbie, divorced while Bumgarner was in high school.
Bumgarner attended South Caldwell High School in Hudson, North Carolina, where he was known as “Maddie” and played on both the school’s baseball team and the Post 29’s American Legion Baseball team. In his junior season, he had a 12–2 win–loss record, an 0.99 earned run average (ERA), and 120 strikeouts in 84 innings pitched as he led his team to a runner-up in the 2006 4A State Championship. The next season, he went 11–2 with a 1.05 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 86 innings while his team won the state championship. He hit .424 with 11 home runs and 38 runs batted in (RBIs). He was named most valuable player (MVP) of the playoffs and the Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year, garnering the nickname “The Carolina Peach.” Bumgarner attracted so much attention from scouts and agents in high school that his father built a wall around the bullpen at his high school field to keep them from distracting him as he warmed up. He had committed to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a college baseball scholarship.
In 2013, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association included him on its “100 To Remember” male athletes list, which included Michael Jordan, Carl Eller, and Jim Beatty.