Reports are indicating that the Los Angeles Dodgers may be making a serious push to sign San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. Could it push the rivalry to a new level?
Death. Taxes. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants rivalry.
It’s one of the most undeniable aspects of baseball. Whether one team is doing well and the other isn’t, every single series is filled with some kind of drama that has fans at opposing sides jawing at each other.
Giants fans have had their fun watching the historic shortcomings of the Los Angeles Dodgers and their mondo payroll. They’ve poked fun at Clayton Kershaw disappearing in the playoffs.
Even after a 77-85 finish last season, the Giants got to watch the Dodgers get bounced in the first round of the MLB playoffs.
Oh, and did I mention that the San Francisco Giants dominated the 2010’s with three rings in five years?
The rivalry is alive and well, and it will continue being that way. But if there’s one thing that could elevate the rivalry to an entirely new level, it would be hell freezing over in the form of a Giants legend donning Dodger blue.
Madison Bumgarner is reportedly the Dodgers’ top pitching target.
In the fallout of Gerrit Cole’s record-setting nine-year, $324 million deal, the Dodgers shifted their focus from one ace to another.
Considering Cole just broke the record for guaranteed money going toward a pitcher by $107 million, the Dodgers can’t be too upset about negotiating a contract half that size.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed from sources that the Dodgers are indeed in on the Giants legend — who notably dominated the Dodgers on several occasions.
Though Bumgarner has a couple of red flags that might scare some teams off from pursuing him for a long-term deal this offseason, his numbers are fantastic at Dodger Stadium. He’s posted a 2.67 ERA across 21 games, the most games pitched anywhere out of San Francisco.
Bumgarner has also, notably, limited the home run ball in his starts in Los Angeles. He sports a 1.24 HR/9, which has to relieve concerns of the 30 jacks he allowed last season.
Other than forcing Giants fans to imagine Madison Bumgarner wearing a Dodgers uniform, the move might make sense for the pitching staff.
The Dodgers could ultimately opt to retain Hyun-Jin Ryu, but his health makes for a gamble in investment. It might make sense for the team to throw around the same amount of money at a guy who has established himself as an ironman.
At the very least, it can’t hurt to pick up someone who had dominated your team for so long.
From the San Francisco Giants perspective, this has to be one of the worst-case scenarios if the rumor holds any real validity outside of being an agent tactic to generate interest.
It appears that Farhan Zaidi is gently letting the fans come down to the realization that the front office is okay with letting Bumgarner walk. They’re more than happy to take the compensation pick.
If the Dodgers are serious bidders, then this may be even more of a test for Zaidi to consider fanbase implications. Letting your ace walk to your division rival is never a good look — especially considering Zaidi’s former employer.
For Bumgarner, who roots himself in traditionalism, it seems like it might be out of character for him to make his way down south to follow the money and join the enemy. That might not actually be in his nature.
But everyone has a price. And, if there aren’t any other serious suitors willing to match the Dodgers’ ability to spend, then Bumgarner might have no choice.
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If he does sign with the Dodgers, he would join a growing list of players who played for both teams.
Of course, there are the recent cases of Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson — who had less-than-stellar showings in SoCal. But there have also been more notable “traitors” who dawned enemy colors — Jeff Kent in Dodger Blue, Orel Hershiser rocking Orange and Black.
Madison Bumgarner might be next.
In a matter of days, we’ll find out if this was all just a nightmarish fever dream or if hell has actually frozen over.
Perhaps the Giants’ front office recognizes the potential backlash that would come with allowing Madison Bumgarner to head to the Dodgers without a competitive offer extended.
Maybe this will inadvertently lead to MadBum re-signing.
But if the front office isn’t taking this rumor serious — which they should be — then the next time we might see Madison Bumgarner could be the opening series where he pitches back to back with Clayton Kershaw.