The Arizona Diamondbacks have been one of the most surprising teams in the MLB this season. Especially, after an 11-8 start in which they currently sit at the top of their divison. With the Diamondbacks trending in a younger direction, they announced their decision to DFA Madison Bumgarner early Thursday afternoon.
The deignation for assignment comes on the heels of three sub-par seasons with Arizona, where he signed a five-year, $85MM contract prior to the 2020 season. Though, he has generally been healthy over the course of his career, the 33-year-old has been ineffective for the D-Backs, pitching a 5.23 in 363 1/3 innings and 69 starts under that contract.
This season, as pronounced has not been very kind to Madison Bumgarner, who has been torched for 20 runs (19 earned) on 25 hits and 15 walks with just 10 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. The Snakes have lost in three of his four starts this season.
Bumgarner’s current 89.6 mph fastball average is down more than three miles per hour from its 93 MPH peak. His 11.1% strikeout rate and 16.7% walk rate are both career-worsts by wide margins, and he’s seen his ability to induce swinging strikes (just 6.3%) and chases off the plate (21.1%) evaporate in this season’s four starts.
In years past, the Diamondbacks may have waited in case of a glimmer of hope, but they appear to be serious this season after their impressive start. The D-Backs entered the 2023 season with an emerging, exciting core headlined by Outfielder Corbin Carroll. They have one of the MLB’s top farm systems to further bolster that group in the future. They have some promising young arms included in that group with the collection of Ryne Nelson, Drey Jameson and, sooner than later, Brandon Pfaadt.
The season is still young, but the expectations for the D-Backs has changed after their impressive 11-8 start. Bumgarner hasn’t been a competitive pitcher for the team this season and the past three seasons show no signs of turning it around. The National League West looks more vulnerable than it has in years and with the Diamondbacks on the rise there is not room for error. It still may not be clear who will replace him in the rotation yet. Though, it is clear that Bumgarner’s time with the D-backs is virtually over.
Given the left-hander’s woeful performance not only in 2023 but throughout his D-backs tenure as a whole, there’s no chance another team will roll the dice on the remaining $34.3MM on his contract. Bumgarner is being paid $23MM in 2023 and is still owed a $14MM salary for the 2024 campaign.
The Diamondbacks could place him on outright waivers, but he has enough time to reject an outright assignment. This means, he’ll likely be placed on release waivers within the coming days, and upon clearing them being eligible to sign a deal with any team.
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