So, the biggest news of the day — besides Brandon Belt getting another rare start — is that the Giants have signed Madison Bumgarner to a five-year extension (with some club options) worth $35M (maybe up to $40M if Bumgarner qualifies for super two status). Bumgarner’s deal will buy out at least one of his free agency years, and potentially more, depending on the 2018 and 2019 club options. At the moment, it’s looking like the club options will cost the Giants $14M per year; if Bumgarner wins the Cy Young Award in either of the option years, an escalator will kick in and raise the option years to $16M.
Whew, that’s a lot to process. The deal in total could be worth $70.5M if Bumgarner hits all of his triggers.
I haven’t done the math because I often find the WAR per dollars earned template that’s used for judging contracts a little fuzzy, but at first blush, this seems like a really, really nice deal for the Giants. The Giants get some stability over his arbitration years (2012-2016) and buy out at least one FA year (2017) with club options that could cover a two additional years at very reasonable rates. Club options are extremely team friendly and if Bumgarner continues to excel, the Giants will make out like bandits in the back-end of this deal. There is also a limited no-trade clause in this deal. Bumgarner can block trades up to eight teams.
I’m starting to run out of superlative adjectives to drop on Bumgarner, but here’s the basics: at 22-years-old he’s extremely young and good.
If you run a Baseball-Reference search that looks at starting pitchers since 1960 with at least 300 innings pitched by age 22, Bumgarner ranks in the following categories…
#19 in ERA+ (119)
#12 in strikeouts per nine innings (7.80)
#6 in walks per nine innings (2.11)
#2 in strikeout per walk ratio (3.70)
#13 in quality start percentage (64.8%)
He’s good. Of course, pitchers, as we all know, can be mercurial. Our BB-Ref list has guys on it like Mark Fidrych, Mark Prior, Ismael Valdez, Scott Kazmir, and Dontrelle Willis; players that had success in their early careers, but struggled later. Bumgarner is also rubbing elbows with some truly great company. Great players like: Bert Blyleven, Frank Tanana, and Bret Saberhagen to name just a few.
So, like most deals, there’s a little risk hiding in there, but on the whole it looks like a really, really good deal for the Giants. The Giants lock up a core piece of their rotation for awhile, and Bumgarner, who probably realizes that pitchers often go sproing, gets some financial security.
Getting this deal done was one of my great hopes for the offseason. Good one, Giants.