July 31st is always a date that fans of Baseball will have sketched into their diaries. July 31st is the date of the trade deadline and with a few major free agents about to hit the market at the end of the year, a few teams may be looking to offload a few high-earners to try and entice the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Dallas Keuchel. But as we slowly approach the trade deadline, there are a handful of players who could be dealt for good youth prospects as clubs aim to avoid losing out of cashing in on their high earners. One player in particular who has been the focus of a few rumours in the past week or so has been Mr. October, Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants.
Now, I know what you’re saying, surely the Giants wouldn’t trade away someone who has been so valuable to their organisation, but those questions have already been semi-answered by ESPN’s Buster Olney, who claimed in a recent article that the Giants should trade for MadBum for a few top farm prospects, considering how weak their current system is. In the same article, Olney claimed that an evaluator said the only way the Giants would trade would be for a team competing for the World Series and with good prospects, and there’s one team that comes to mind immediately… The New York Yankees.
Before I go into how I think the Yankees should trade for Bumgarner, I will mention that neither Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar will be apart of this trade. The fact Yankees GM Brian Cashman has big plans for these two takes them immediately off the table, yet there are still some very good names in the Yankees system who could peak the interest of the Bay Area team. The first two names that come into mind are Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield, Frazier being a outfielder and Sheffield being a top pitching prospect that could sweeten the pot for the Giants, and I’d also be inclined to throw maybe someone like Dellin Betances, or even Jacoby Ellsbury for a wage dump. Ellsbury has a no-trade clause in his $21M contract, but has previously spoken about how he wouldn’t mind a move to the West Coast.
Without question it would have somewhat of a risky move by the Yankees but look at this way. They aim to free up enough cap room to entice Bryce Harper into the outfield – something that wouldn’t be an issue without Ellsbury’s huge wage and Frazier’s absence in the outfield wouldn’t be felt if Harper was out there – and with five of their top 10 prospects being pitchers, Sheffield leaving wouldn’t be the end of the world either.
As it stands, the Bronx Bombers are currently around $15M under the tax threshold and Bumgarner’s contract is currently on $12M with a team option in 2019, meaning the Yankees would have him for two years before contract talks could even begin! The low amount of money means that they could bring in MadBum and still (potentially) be under the threshold.
But what do the Giants get out of this? Sure, they get a few top prospects to help their rebuild but what else? Well, I’m going to point towards another trade involving the Yankees when they were in a similar position. They needed a few top prospects for a rebuild and shifted Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford. Barely a year later, the Yanks resigned Chapman on free agency and retained the services of the prospects, meaning they brought back a dominant closer and kept perhaps one of the most exciting prospects in baseball in Torres. Could the Giants do the same?
If they’re prepared to wait until 2019, then 100% they could. It’s a trade that could work for both clubs, but it certainly works for Bumgarner and the Yankees. Just imagine coming up against a pitching rotation in the Postseason of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Madison Bumgarner? It gives them another big pitching asset and keeps them under the threshold, allowing them to spend in the free agency. It just makes too much sense not to happen.
Oh, and he’s not a bad slugger either…