As the 2019 Major League Baseball season creeps toward the All-Star break, Madison Bumgarner's time with the Giants likely grows shorter.
The Giants (25-36) find themselves out of the National League West race, and they likely will start to sell off trade pieces in the coming weeks in order to restock a thin farm system. Bumgarner is their biggest asset.
As the contenders and pretenders start to separate themselves, the 29-year-old's potential destinations come into focus.
Up until Thursday, contending teams in need of a starting pitcher had their eyes on left-hander Dallas Keuchel. The 2016 American League Cy Young winner remained a free agent, hoping to secure the lucrative contract that was not offered to him over the winter. After the MLB draft passed and the compensation pick attached to Keuchel was taken out of play, the left-hander reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
With Keuchel off the market, contenders now will shift their focus to the trade market that will be headlined by the likes of Bumgarner. That group of teams likely will include the Yankees, as The New York Post's Ken Davidoff opined Thursday.
After missing out on another big-name starter, the Yankees now need to examine the trade market in order to solidify a starting rotation whose members have had their fair share of health issues. While acquisition costs have hampered the Yankees' pursuit of guys such as Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, that might not be the case with Bumgarner.
As Davidoff mentions, Bumgarner only has one year remaining on his contract, which means he'll come at a cheaper cost than the likes of Marcus Stroman and pitchers who will be under team control for multiple years.
San Francisco Giants
The Yankees restocked their farm system during the 2016 season when they dealt Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman at the trade deadline. Some of those pieces, namely Clint Frazier, could lead a trade package for Bumgarner.
Frazier, 24, is a talented slugger who was heralded coming up through the minor leagues. After battling concussions last season, Frazier has slashed .268/.320/.516 this season while hitting 11 home runs and notching 30 RBI. While his outfield defense leaves something to be desired, Frazier would be an intriguing piece for a Giants team that has been searching for a consistent bat to put in left field.
It has to be noted, of course, that the Yankees reportedly are on Bumgarner's eight-team no-trade list, but that doesn't mean the ace would refuse a move to New York.
Bumgarner is aware of the situation facing the Giants and the fact that he likely won't be pitching at Oracle Park come September. At least not for the Giants.
After the Giants beat the Mets on Tuesday to win manager Bruce Bochy's 1,000th career game, a local reporter asked Bumgarner if he would be amenable to wearing pinstripes.
"I’m pretty sure we’re still in the Giants clubhouse and I’m here trying to win games for this club," Bumgarner said.
That might not be the case much longer, though.
The Yankees currently hold a slim lead in the AL East, but they need an ace to anchor their rotation come October. Bumgarner has the pedigree and stuff to be that guy.
If nothing else, expect Brian Cashman and Farhan Zaidi to have some conversations in the coming weeks.