New York Yankees: Madison Bumgarner should be No. 1 trade target

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the first inning at AT&T Park on September 16, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the first inning at AT&T Park on September 16, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees need to upgrade their starting pitching and Madison Bumgarner should be their top target at the trade deadline.

The New York Yankees need to add a starting pitcher at this year’s trade deadline. With one of the best records in the major leagues and World Series aspirations, the Yankees can’t afford to let a thin starting rotation sink their season. New York has one of the best farm systems in baseball so they should be able to make the moves they want at the deadline and their top target should be Madison Bumgarner.

The San Francisco Giants were in denial this winter when they added Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen to an aging roster to try to make one more “even year” World Series run. A look at the NL West standings, however, shows that this likely isn’t San Fran’s year. They sit behind the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, both better teams, and although they may be in third at the moment, the Los Angeles Dodgers are starting to wake up and LA has a more talented roster, deeper farm system, and deeper pockets than the Giants. By July the Giants should realize that they need a younger, more athletic roster and that it’s time to jumpstart a rebuild.

Bumgarner should return to the major league rotation by July as well. Mad Bum has been on the shelf since fracturing his left pinkie in his final spring training start but is expected back around mid-June.

A month on the big league mound should give Bumgarner plenty of time to get back to his ace form. The four-time All-Star has a career 104-76 record with a 3.01 ERA. He posted four straight seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA from 2013-2016 and six straight seasons with a least 191 strikeouts from 2011-2016. Bumgarner had an injury-shortened season last year but still struck out 101 batters in 111 innings pitched with a 3.32 ERA. Bumgarner’s injuries (dirt bike accident and line drive comebacker) are both freak accidents and not long-term concerns.

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Perhaps the most attractive part of Bumgarner’s game is his postseason experience and World Series dominance. The three-time World Series champion has thrown 102.1 postseason innings, going 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. His 2014 postseason was particularly impressive, going 4-1 over 52.2 innings with a 1.03 ERA and 0.65 WHIP.  Mad Bum threw two postseason shutouts in 2014 and picked up the save in Game 7 of the World Series in route to being named World Series MVP.

Pairing Bumgarner with Luis Severino atop the starting rotation would give the Yankees a duo capable of competing with Chris Sale and David Price in Boston and Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in Houston. Bumgarner would also take pressure off of Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Sonny Gray as none of them would have to be New York’s second ace.

Bumgarner also has one of the team-friendliest contracts in all of baseball. He’ll make just $12 million this season and has a $12 million team option for 2019 (all but guaranteed to be picked up by whichever team he’s on). Not only would Bumgarner help the New York Yankees in their pursuit of a World Series this season but he would sit atop their starting rotation next year as well.

San Francisco has one of the worst farm systems in baseball, ranked 28th by Bleacher Report prior to the start of spring training. They should take advantage of the No. 3 farm system in baseball and swap Bumgarner for a package of Yankees prospects. The Giants have just one prospect on’s top 100 whereas the Yankees have five such top prospects.

Brian Cashman and company could still have a few “untouchable” prospects at this year’s trade deadline, but just about anyone should be available in a trade for Madison Bumgarner. Outside of Gleyber Torres, Estevan Florial, and Justus Sheffield, the Yankees should let the Giants pick out their prospect package from the rest of the minor league system.

Headlining the trade package with Clint Frazier should get the Giants listening. Give San Fran a choice between Chance Adams and Albert Abreu as a top starting pitching prospect and throw in two mid-level prospects (a former top prospect like Wilkerman Garcia could perhaps use a change of scenery) and Mad Bum could end up in pinstripes.

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Madison Bumgarner’s combination of talent, postseason experience, and a team-friendly contract is unmatched in both this year’s trade market and this upcoming offseason’s free agent market. Brian Cashman didn’t pull the trigger on Gerrit Cole this winter but with the New York Yankees off to a great start this season, he must pull the trigger on Mad Bum this summer.