The trade deadline is still three and a half months away, but that hasn’t stopped the Phillies from eyeing up a potential acquisition.
The Phillies starting rotation has not been up to par this season. Aaron Nola and Nick Pivetta have struggled while Jake Arrieta has been good but not a standout. Zach Eflin is the only one who has shined so far, but you can only make so much out of two starts.
I wrote yesterday about the struggles of the rotation so far this year and some of the ways they could go about alleviating them. I mentioned the possibility of a trade deadline acquisition, and it appears the team is thinking about it too.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported on FOX Sports’ MLB Whiparound that the Phillies are already doing “due diligence” on Giants starter Madison Bumgarner.
Philadelphia and other teams had preliminary discussions about Bumgarner during the offseason, but obviously, nothing ever came of them. With the Giants not expected to contend this year and Bumgarner’s pending free agency, he will be one of the top targets of this year’s trade deadline.
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Bumgarner hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire to start the season. In three starts, he has allowed seven earned runs, 12 runs total, and four home runs. He has 16 strikeouts and four walks in 19 innings. His 3.32 ERA is respectable, but his 5.09 fielding-independent pitching is not. If the Giants plan on getting anything of value for Bumgarner when July rolls around, they better hope he improves by then.
For a team looking to make the playoffs, Bumgarner may be the perfect fit. He has made 16 postseason appearances in his career. In 2014, Bumgarner won NLCS and World Series MVP. In the World Series that year, he made three appearances, including a complete game shutout and five masterful innings to close out Game Seven three days later.
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Altogether, Bumgarner has a 2.11 ERA, 0.899 WHIP, and 4.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the playoffs. Jake Arrieta is the only Phillie starter with any playoff experience, making nine starts with a 3.08 ERA for the Cubs. Adding Bumgarner would solidify the rotation for a deep postseason run.
Bumgarner also adds the left-handed starter the team is looking for. He could be the alternative to signing Dallas Keuchel since the club seems averse to signing him for more than a year or two.
In terms of what Philadelphia would have to give up for Bumgarner, it’s hard to say at this point. He will be a free agent after this year, which limits his value.
However, if he returns to even the pitcher he was the last two years, he will be in high demand. The Giants will have plenty of suitors for Bumgarner, driving up the price considerably.
Bumgarner could be the final piece Philadelphia needs for a playoff push, so it’s good to see them already doing some work on that front. He won’t be the only arm available in July, but he should be one of the better ones out there.