Over the weekend, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Madison Bumgarner to a five-year deal worth 85 million dollars. After being linked to the Atlanta Braves since last season, the Braves were wise to avoid a long-term deal with Bumgarner.
Madison Bumgarner has long been on the Atlanta Braves radar while the team was searching for starting pitching depth. There were rumors throughout last season that linked the Braves and Bumgarner but would eventually fall through. After the failed trade talks, the Braves were again linked to Bumgarner during his free agency spell. Well, over the weekend, the rumors have been put the rest for good when the Arizona Diamondbacks inked Bumgarner to a five-year deal.
In my opinion, the Bumgarner rumors were put to rest when the Braves signed Cole Hamels to a one-year deal earlier in the offseason. Hamels, 35, is at a different point of his career, Bumgarner is just 30, but the Braves didn’t want to commit that many years to a veteran pitcher who has been injured off and on for the last two seasons. The Braves are loaded with young, minor league talent that would have been blocked by the long-term deal Bumgarner was in search of. By committing the one season to Hamels, the Braves ensure their young talent will still have room to grow for the future. Signing Bumgarner would have stamped out any hope Bryse Wilson, Touki Toussaint, and Ian Anderson have of making it to the majors in the next year or two.
Despite the Hamels signing, many Braves fans still wanted to bring Bumgarner into the fold of the team. By avoiding a deal with Bumgarner, the Braves made the wise and correct move for this season and the future. Bumgarner, who was in search of a 9 figure deal but had to settle for 85 million, feels to be more name than skill at this point in his career. The one-time World Series MVP has been riding the success of the Giants in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Committing five years to Bumgarner could have proved to be an awful deal for the Braves.
With Bumgarner off the market, it seems the Braves are happy with the starting rotation of Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz, Cole Hamels, and whichever young pitcher takes the fifth spot, whether that be Sean Newcomb, Bryse Wilson, or Touki Toussaint. However, that doesn’t mean the Braves won’t make another move for a pitcher before Spring Training. It just feels like Bumgarner was never an option, even with all the links to the Braves. For the Braves, the team made the right move to avoid a long-term deal with Bumgarner.