Well, I wouldn’t have called this one (at least it’s not the Cardinals)!
Arguably the top remaining free agent starting pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, has signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks:
BREAKING: Left-hander Madison Bumgarner and the Arizona Diamondbacks are nearing a five-year deal, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 15, 2019
It’s not that the Diamondbacks haven’t signaled an interest to improve this offseason – indeed, they’ve been connected to a whole host of free agents and trade candidates all winter long – it’s just that most of those rumors have been about adding to their outfield.
Meanwhile, Bumgarner – whose stock has risen thanks to (1) the enormous free agent deals for Zack Wheeler, Stephen Strasburg, and Gerrit Cole and (2) his position as the top remaining arm in free agency – has seemed more a threat to go to one of the teams that missed out on Cole/Strasburg, like the Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, or even the Giants. But here we are. What a shock.
I wouldn’t be surprised now if Hyun-Jin Ryu signs quickly – and possibly with one of those other teams listed above (the Dodgers are my guess). This was just such an out-of-left field signing, I’m a little unsure exactly how to size it up. We’ll have more for you – hopefully including some contract details – in a bit. In the meantime, don’t be surprised to see the Diamondbacks push a little more in for next season, which could mean an outfield free agent signing or trade. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Passan reported five years, and now Heyman is zeroing in on the dollars …
MadBum got 80-90M.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 15, 2019
That’s a good deal for Bumgarner, no doubt, but one that’s more in line with our expectations coming into the offseason, than the rumors of late (which had him looking for $100M or more). Ultimately, I think the Diamondbacks willingness to go to 5 years is what helped put this deal over the top – though it’s hard not to consider some implications of the Corey Kluber trade earlier this morning. I’m not saying the Diamondbacks were involved there, but clearly the starting pitcher market continues to move.
Remember, free agents generally like to get deals done before Christmas, so this could continue to be a busy day/week.
UPDATE 2: He split the difference, but has some deferrals.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 15, 2019