Should the Blue Jays even think about pursuing Madison Bumgarner?

Madison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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Madison Bumgarner was recently designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks after spending the past three seasons with the ballclub. His performance with the Diamondbacks had been subpar ever since he signed that five-year, $85M contract back in the 2019-20 offseason. But this year in 2023, it had gotten a lot worse, as Bumgarner got off to the worst start of his career, going 0-3 in four starts, with a 10.26 ERA and 2.40 WHIP, giving up 19 earned runs, walking 15 and striking out 10 in just 16.2 innings. With four consecutive years of regressing performance, his time in the desert appears to be over.

In such case, should the Toronto Blue Jays even consider pursuing the four-time All Star and three-time World Series champion? Here we look at the pros and cons of obtaining the services of Madison Bumgarner, also known as “MadBum”.

Why the Blue Jays could use Madison Bumgarner

1. Championship Pedigree and Veteran Experience

  • Bumgarner has been in the league for almost a decade and a half now, so he could bring his breadth of veteran experience to the Jays, as he had gone through many of the ups and downs in the everyday life of baseball. In addition, he has led the San Francisco Giants on three successful postseason runs, each resulting in a World Series title in the end, so he definitely knows how to win on the big stage. Seeing the Jays bowing out quickly in the Wild Card playoff rounds in two of the past three seasons, Bumgarner could make a difference by spreading his winning culture and experience at the highest level to both the Jays’ young guns, as well as those on the roster that have not experienced postseason success yet.

2. Change of Scenery

  • More often than not, an athlete playing in an environment they were not happy in or comfortable with could affect their overall abilities and performance. Sometimes, just a change of scenery to give them a fresh start would be stimulating enough to boost them back to becoming productive contributors again. Look no further than when the Jays acquired Jason Grilli and Joaquin Benoit in 2016 for their pennant run. Both were struggling at the time with their respective teams but were rejuvenated once they arrived in Toronto. So perhaps something similar could happen for Bumgarner if given the chance to leave the Diamondbacks.

3.  Pete Walker’s “Magic”

  • Time and time again in the past few years, the Jays had picked up reclamation projects and turned them into successful ballplayers, with many being attributed to the work of Jays’ pitching coach Pete Walker, or the so-called Pete Walker’s “magic”. He helped pitchers such at Steven Matz, Ross Stripling, and most notably Robbie Ray, in adjusting their mechanics to mold them into more effective and productive pitchers, with Ray even winning the AL Cy Young in 2021. Whatever his “magic” was, if the Jays manage to obtain the services of Bumgarner, they could hope that Walker would work his magic once again and revive Bumgarner’s career so that he could revert back to his stellar form prior to 2020.