San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner hadn't been blowing people away on the mound for much of the season, but he's caught fire and over his last three starts he owns a 1.13 ERA, including a nine-inning performance Thursday night where he allowed just one run and struck out six on 94 pitches.
With the Giants needing to rebuild and get younger, Bumgarner is at the top of the list of potential trade candidates, as he's a free agent at season's end. You wonder if San Francisco will move him, as the team has won 13 of their last 16 games and are only 2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot, but that decision will be made in the next couple weeks.
Of course, after an impressive outing last night, teams in the hunt in need of a starter should be fawning over the idea of getting Bumgarner and getting him in their uniform right now. So, here are four contenders that need to trade for Bumgarner after his recent stellar performance.
4. Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a half game out of a Wild Card spot and 7.5 games back in the division. They haven't been playing great ball, but with all the additions and money they've spent, the Phillies have no other option than to be buyers at all costs. The rotation has been one of their big problems this year, and with Aaron Nola being inconsistent and Jake Arrieta having a down year/dealing with an elbow injury, they need Bumgarner in the worst way if they want to reach October.
3. Houston Astros
There might not be a better 1-2 rotation combo in the big leagues than Houston's Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. However, after that it gets a little spotty, and for them to get past New York, they need another starter. Someone like Bumgarner would be perfect. Could you imagine having to go into a series facing Verlander, Cole and MadBum? No thank you.
2. New York Yankees
If there's one player in all of baseball you wouldn't worry about playing in the rigors of New York City, it's Madison Bumgarner. No stage is too big for him, and if anything, it raises his level of play. The New York Yankees are one of the favorites to win it all, and it might take a postseason legend like Bumgarner to get them over the top.
1. Atlanta Braves
One team that has been linked to Bumgarner from the beginning and makes all the sense in the world are the Atlanta Braves. He'd stay in the National League, is from Braves Country, and you have to imagine he'd elevate his play even more if you put him on a first place team with a chance to go far in October. Oh, and in six starts in Atlanta, Bumgarner is 4-1 with a 1.07 ERA. The Braves also have the pieces to make this happen if the Giants are ready to sell.