For fans in San Francisco, Clayton Kershaw (35, Los Angeles Dodgers) is both revered and annoying. The Dodger-San Francisco rivalry needs no introduction. In such a situation, it’s hard to see Kershaw, the Dodgers’ ace, as anything less than formidable.
Conversely, Dodger fans have been annoyed by the name of Madison Bumgarner, 34, for some time. The left-hander, whose combative demeanor ignited whenever he faced the Dodgers, has led them to three World Series titles, a sore spot for Dodger fans. His fiery personality often put him at odds with Dodger players, which is never a good thing. The rivalry between the two teams is so strong that even two players who were strong against each other at the same time could have a rivalry as aces.
However, Kershaw and Bumgarner’s recent behavior has been quite the opposite. Kershaw is still pitching with the respect of Dodger fans. He may not be the 200-inning pitcher he once was due to frequent injuries, but he’s proven that he can still throw 100-150 innings of quality ball. Bumgarner, on the other hand, is not on a major league mound right now. He’s not even on a minor league mound. And no one is looking for him.
Bumgarner, who was eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, signed a five-year, $85 million deal with Arizona ahead of the 2020 season. He drew a lot of comparisons to Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto), who was also a free agent at the same time. Both players had similar careers and were around the same age, so they were bound to influence each other’s salaries. Bumgarner outpaid Ryu in total dollars ($80 million), but Ryu had the edge in average annualized dollars ($20 million), so they went their separate ways.바카라
However, it’s been a steady downhill slide for Bumgarner since his move to Arizona. His velocity began to drop toward the end of his San Francisco career and he lost the dominance he once had, and in Arizona, he literally became a so-so pitcher. When he went 1-4 with a 6.48 ERA in nine games in 2020, it was believed that the shortened season due to COVID-19 had affected his rhythm. However, his performance since then has shown that it wasn’t just a rhythm issue.
In two years, from 2021 to 2022, Bumgarner started 56 games, going 14-25 with a 4.78 ERA. Even at his age, his velocity showed no signs of recovery. Hitters were no longer afraid of Bumgarner’s intimidating four-seam and cutter. This year was his worst. In his first four starts, he lost three and had a 10.26 ERA.
Madison Bumgarner often had nervous battles with the Dodgers.
Bumgarner in San Francisco.
This is where Arizona made a splash. They released Bumgarner to make room for pitchers coming up from the minors. Even though he was signed through 2024, they took on all of his remaining salary and simply removed him from the roster.
There were a number of factors that went into this move, including Bumgarner’s declining performance, the difficulty of trading him, and the fact that Arizona has young pitchers to use. The general consensus in the local media is that Bumgarner’s personality, which has not been kind to the A’s front office, may have been the deciding factor. The Arizona front office wanted to perform “surgery” on Bumgarner’s pitches, including correcting his pitching form, in order to restore his lost command. Bumgarner lost his temper and cut ties with them. It was an uncomfortable cohabitation.
What’s even more surprising is that not a single team has reached out to him since May. Bumgarner couldn’t pitch, and he was on the decline before he was released. It’s not like there was anything seriously wrong with his body. Plus, Arizona is paying his salary through next year. With a career record of 134 wins in the majors and a still-young age of 34, there should have been at least one team willing to take him on, but none of them did.
With Bumgarner now completely off the radar in the local media, the theory is that a combination of factors, including his declining form and friction with the front office, are contributing to the team’s decision. It’s safe to assume that not many teams will choose Bumgarner next year, as he hasn’t pitched in the majors in over six months. At this rate, he may not get another chance in 2024. Another year of age. Bumgarner’s name could fade into obscurity in the big leagues.