​​Madison Bumgarner is paving his own path, whether the San Francisco Giants like it or not.

​The Giants are a once-proud veteran group rotting from within, and the question is not if, but when they'll want to sell off their prominent pieces in the next few seasons. With July rapidly approaching, Bumgarner's partial no-trade clause was revealed, and the teams on the list are all contenders.

To the naked eye, this is a confusing strategy, but it actually gives MadBum total control over his future team. Should a contender want to make a move for the lefty ace, they'll need to get his approval first. Bumgarner is not easily swooned. 

The Braves, Astros, Cubs, Red Sox, Brewers, Yankees, Cardinals and Phillies all made the cut, and most of those contending teams could use pitching help. With the trade deadline not too far around the corner, they'll need to prove to Bumgarner that their long-term plan for contention goes far beyond just this season. 

This trend can and should be motivation for other prominent stars moving forward. Rather than exercising a full NTC and perhaps limiting the length and value of their current contract, they should strategically pick some teams likely to be in contention for years to come in hopes of controlling their own narrative when the time comes.