Why the Yankees need to trade for Madison Bumgarner

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees head into this weekend’s action with an AL-best 60-33 record. From top to bottom, they are right there with the Houston Astros as top World Series contenders in the league.

Unlike previous versions of Yankees title contenders, most of this core group was built up through the organization. It’s been the MO of their front office since the passing of longtime owner George Steinbrenner.

This does not mean that New York has avoided making the big splash. Giancarlo Stanton ahead of the 2018 season comes to mind.

We’re here to say that the Yankees need to dive into their farm system and financial assets to add another big-name player, Madison Bumgarner, before July 31.

Here’s why.

Playoff experience: New York is already almost guaranteed a postseason spot.

  • Adding Bumgarner to the mix would be more for October than the remainder of the regular season.
  • The three-time World Series champion has been absolutely absurd in the postseason throughout his career.
  • Bumgarner, 29, has posted a career 8-3 record with a 2.11 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 16 playoff appearances (14 starts).
  • That’s the type of postseason success the Yankees currently don’t really have on the bump outside of CC Sabathia.

He’s still good: This has been lost in the narrative.

  • Is Bumgarner the same pitcher he was four years ago? No. But his splits tell us a story of a veteran that could still be a front-line guy.
  • The four-time All-Star is allowing a mere .306 on-base percentage and has struck out 121 batters compared to just 25 walks.
  • While his ERA is nearing four with an opponent BAbip of .321, it’s important to factor in who’s playing defense behind him. That won’t be an issue in New York.

Rounds out the roster: New York has all the other pieces in place.

  • The Yankees enter this weekend’s action ranked third in the AL in batting, fourth in homers, third in runs scored and third in on-base percentage.
  • They also rank fifth in team ERA and sixth in batting average allowed.
  • Unfortunately, New York is in the bottom five in quality starts. That’s where Bumgarner will come into play. He’s put up 13 quality starts in his 20 appearances this season.

Could be a long-term option: Bumgarner may not only be a rental.

  • Still only 29 years old, Bumgarner is in the back-end of his prime. This would not necessarily be a rental.
  • Sure the veteran is slated to become a free agent, but New York has the financial flexibility to re-sign him during the winter.
  • With CC Sabathia set to retire, there’s a need for another proven veteran. Bumgarner could be that guy over the next several seasons.

The rotation would look amazing during the playoffs.

  • Domingo German: 11-2 record, 3.40 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
  • Masahiro Tanaka: 6-5 record, 3.81 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
  • Madison Bumgarner: 5-7 record, 3.86 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
  • James Paxton: 5-4 record, 3.94 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
  • CC Sabathia: 5-4 record, 4.06 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

This doesn’t even take into account injured ace Luis Severino who is currently on the 60-day injured list with inflammation in his right rotator cuff.

He just took a huge step in his comeback attempt and could be relied on later in the season. A three-man rotation of Severino, German and Bumgarner would be absolutely legit. If New York went with a four-man option, Tanaka would round out a potentially dominant postseason unit.

As with any trade of this ilk, it’s all about compensation. Bumgarner is currently playing out the remainder of his $12 million salary for this season.

That’s not going to be an issue, given his pro-rated salary would be minimal for a big-market team like the Yankees.

At issue here is Bumgarner’s pending free-agent status. Despite some recent struggles, he’s in line for a huge payday.

The market will dictate whether New York even wants to entertain the idea of re-signing him. That goes for pretty much any other team interested in the starter.

Assuming for a second that anyone on the Yankees’ current roster is off limits, the team could allow San Francisco to choose from a prospect within the 6-10 range and two more from the 21-30 range.

To an extent, this should limit what San Francisco receives in a bounty for Bumgarner.

It’s a bounty that could help the Giants start their rebuild while giving the Yankees a truly generational postseason talent that could be with the team long-term.

This would represent a win-win for both sides while making New York the odds-on favorites in the American League.