The Arizona Diamondbacks don’t sound particularly enthralled with Madison Bumgarner’s secret rodeo career.
Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen admitted Monday that the team had no idea Bumgarner had used the alias Mason Saunders to secretly compete in professional rodeo events, but the team does believe the pitcher has not done so since signing with Arizona.
Arizona #Dbacks GM Mike Hazen says he was unaware of Madison Bumgarner participating in rodeo events in his spare time during his days with the #SFGiants when signing him, and believes it hasn't occurred since signing with the Dbacks after reading the Athletic story.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 24, 2020
As funny as the story about Bumgarner’s well-honed alias is, it does open up a bit of a can of worms from a contractual perspective. This is not the sort of thing the Diamondbacks would like to see Bumgarner doing, and it’s normal for contracts to include language prohibiting players from taking part in potentially dangerous activities. It may be true that Bumgarner hasn’t taken part in any rodeos since signing, but there’s no guarantee he won’t over the course of his contract, and it’s not clear if the Diamondbacks will know or what they’ll do about it.
Madison Bumgarner is well-known as a three-time World Series champion and elite postseason pitcher. He’s also known as a regular rodeo participant, albeit under a different name.
After a bit of research, Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan of The Athletic deduced that Bumgarner, now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, participates in various rodeo events under the alias Mason Saunders. Bumgarner even won $26,560 in a team-roping competition last December, and his picture is posted on the venue’s Facebook page.
Bumgarner owned up to the hobby, and admitted that he may have won other events under the alias. The name is derived from a shortened version of his first name and his wife’s maiden name, and he uses it because he does not want to attract outside attention while competing.
And yes, Bumgarner is serious about those competitions.
“No matter what hobbies I have, I take ’em serious,” Bumgarner said. “That’s just my personality. I don’t do anything just for fun, per se. I wish I did.”
The Diamondbacks would not divulge whether Bumgarner’s rodeo habit was a breach of his contractual language. It was not a total secret that he participated, as he’d divulged it in a 2016 interview while with the San Francisco Giants. As long as the pitcher is a little more careful with that hobby than he was with his dirt biking, the Diamondbacks will probably be able to get over it.
Madison Bumgarner will be remaining in the NL West, but it will be with a surprising team.
Bumgarner and the Arizona Diamondbacks are nearing a five-year deal, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on Sunday. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says the deal is for $85 million, with $15 million deferred.
Bumgarner was said to have been seeking a five-year deal for more than $100 million.
The Diamondbacks had a need for an ace after trading Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros last season, which explains their interest in Bumgarner. But the move seems somewhat odd for a team that didn’t seem to be committed to spending money to win.
Why trade Paul Goldschmidt and Greinke only to spend on Bumgarner? It doesn’t make much sense.
Bumgarner is 30 and has already pitched 1,846 career regular season innings and 102.1 postseason innings. He made 34 starts last season but posted a 3.90 ERA — the worst of his career. His stuff seems good and his fastball velocity was fine, so a return to form seems like it could still happen. Plus, Arizona knows Bumgarner has a history of success pitching in the NL West.
Madison Bumgarner has a long and sometimes controversial history with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that won’t stop one star from endorsing a potential move.
Pitcher Clayton Kershaw said Friday he would welcome Bumgarner to the Dodgers if the team elects to bring him in.
“I love Bum….. if we signed him, that’d be great!” – Clayton Kershaw pic.twitter.com/yfvIv5JhRr
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) December 13, 2019
A lot of Bumgarner’s past issues with the Dodgers related to Yasiel Puig, who isn’t there anymore. There’s no guarantee that the two sides wind up together, mind you, but it certainly sounds like the Dodgers are interested in the idea. That said, if this union did happen, Bumgarner might have to have a chat with a different Dodger player to make sure there are no hard feelings.
Bumgarner is coming off a season in which he posted a career-worst 3.90 ERA, but he’s known as one of the best playoff pitchers of his generation. For a team like the Dodgers, that may be more than any regular season contribution.
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The Los Angeles Angels made a big free agent signing on Wednesday night, and they aren’t done yet this offseason.
The Angels reached agreement on a 7-year, $245 million deal with third baseman Anthony Rendon. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi says the Angels are also looking to add a pitcher. He says Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Dallas Keuchel are among the pitchers they’re looking to sign. Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray is also a pitcher they’ve sought in a trade.
Source: #Angels still planning to add a significant starting pitcher. They’re pursuing Bumgarner, Ryu or Keuchel in free agency or #Rockies RHP Jon Gray (among others) on trade market. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 12, 2019
The Angels missed out on Gerrit Cole, as they and the Dodgers came behind the Yankees in the sweepstakes for the ace. Stephen Strasburg re-signed with the Nationals, and the Phillies added Zack Wheeler. The Dodgers and Angels still have an interest in improving their pitching and are both said to be looking at Bumgarner.
Ryu led the league with a 2.32 ERA last season for the Dodgers and was second in NL Cy Young voting. He’s 32 though and has a significant injury history, which may cause teams pause in signing him for big money.
The Angels have Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning and just traded for Dylan Bundy. They’re hoping to have Shohei Ohtani return from Tommy John surgery. They need some more pitchers who can slot in at the top of the rotation.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have pursued Gerrit Cole in free agency, but their chances of landing him were always unrealistic due to a combination of heavier interest from the Yankees and Angels, and the Dodgers’ restraint with money. The Dodgers are not a team that drops $200 million on a player. Around $100 million or so is more their speed. That’s why their next free agent target makes much more sense.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers will shift their focus to Madison Bumgarner.
#Dodgers will now shift their focus to free-agent left-hander Madison Bumgarner, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2019
Bumgarner is reportedly looking for more than $100 million over five years.
Bumgarner is 30 and has already pitched 1,846 career regular season innings and 102.1 postseason innings. He made 34 starts last season but posted a 3.90 ERA — the worst of his career. His stuff seems good and his fastball velocity was fine, so a return to form seems like it could still happen.
The question is whether Bumgarner would ever join his rival after playing for the Giants for 11 seasons. One thing the Dodgers can offer him is the opportunity to bat, which is something that will likely appeal to him since he’s a good hitter. The Angels, who also missed out on Cole, could be another team to have interest in Bumgarner.
Dodgers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt:
Madison Bumgarner is one of the top starting pitchers remaining on the free agent market, and there are several teams that are interested in signing the left-hander. Ultimately, it may come down to who is willing to meet Bumgarner’s asking price.
Bumgarner’s representatives have told teams the 2014 World Series MVP is seeking a five-year deal worth more than $100 million, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
Teams are being told that free-agent starter Madison Bumgarner is seeking a five-year deal for $100 million-plus.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 9, 2019
While Bumgarner is coming off a down season in which he posted a career-worst 3.90 ERA, he still made 34 starts and struck out 203 hitters in 207 innings. He’s also one of the best postseason pitchers in MLB history. That should be appealing to contending teams, which is why one top NL team has supposedly made signing him a priority this winter.
There are concerns that Bumgarner’s stuff isn’t quite what it used to be, but he’s still only 30. Zack Wheeler, who is 29, just signed a five-year, $119 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. It makes sense that Bumgarner would want a similar contract, and he does not appear to be willing to take a hometown discount to return to the San Francisco Giants. He should have no problem getting $100 million.