Well, America’s favorite mystery team has struck again. Arguably the biggest name still on the board (though far from the best), Madison Bumgarner, has agreed to a 5 year deal worth $85 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks, netting him an AAV of $17 million.
Most of the baseball community is surprised by this news, and they’re right to be. The Angels, Dodgers, and White Sox were considered the most likely landing spots for Bumgarner, and there was essentially nothing pointing to the Diamondbacks making a serious offer. Bumgarner was solid in 2019, posting both a 3.90 ERA and FIP, but with his Fastball Velocity, Hard Hit %, and Exit Velocity within the bottom 14% of the league, it’s safe to say his stuff has taken a hit.
Bumgarner—who projects to post an fWAR around 2—will enter a talented but largely unproven rotation of Robbie Ray, Mike Leake, Zach Gallen, Luke Weaver, and Merrill Kelley, at least for now. The D-Backs will now certainly look to move Robbie Ray as he enters his contract year. While it’s nice to think that they brought in MadBum to fortify the rotation, it’s more likely that it was a move designed to lessen the blow of Ray’s loss.
Whatever Ray’s return will be, it certainly increases in lieu of the Bumgarner signing, as the D-Backs have thinned out the starting pitcher market, increasing the demand for a Ray-type arm. All things considered, this move really doesn’t impact Arizona’s ability to compete in 2020, neither for better nor worse.