Madison Bumgarner has been a thorn in the Dodgers side all decade long. For starters, there’s his regular season success against Los Angeles, with a 2.72 ERA across 36 games. Of course you can’t forget his postseason accolades, in which Dodger fans have had to watch at home out of jealousy. Lastly, and the biggest reason he is loathed amongst fans, his petty arguments and feuds with a plethora of Dodger players.
The good news is that Bumgarner is a free agent and poised to leave San Francisco. The frightening part of this is the idea of him signing with the Dodgers. This is a very unlikely scenario, but one worth thinking about. By the off chance Bumgarner signed with the Dodgers, what would happen? Let’s look at a few different perspectives.
As a Dodger fan myself, I would find it pretty hard to cheer on Bumgarner after all his shenanigans over the years. Between his whining after surrendering home runs, sly comments in post-game interviews, and (seemingly) intentionally plunking batters, it’s quite hard to just forget all of that. From what I’ve gauged from other fans, there is mostly agreement.
There is no doubt a Bumgarner signing would be met with groans and complaints, and probably even booing when his name gets announced on opening day. However, if Bumgarner were to pitch well and help win games, I could see those tides turning.
While the circumstances were very different, center Dwight Howard was hated among Lakers faithful up until this year. He was signed to come off the bench, and after a mixed response, started playing his best basketball in years. Now, just a few months later, he is a fan favorite. Making a fanbase convert from hating you to loving you can be done in one simple step: help their team win games.
Another dimension of a Madison Bumgarner signing would be how certain Dodger players would take it. Bumgarner’s biggest foe, Yasiel Puig, is obviously gone, but he’s also riffed with plenty of other Dodgers, such as Max Muncy.
Madison Bumgarner yells at Max Muncy, a breakdown pic.twitter.com/7hJQDnlWXk
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) June 10, 2019
Not only did Muncy wear this shirt during batting practice several times, so did many of his teammates. Bumgarner has been publicly, and I’m sure plenty of times privately, clowned on and mocked by Dodger players.
As someone who’s not a professional athlete, it’s hard to say exactly how he would mesh with guys like Muncy. At the end of the day, they’re all grown adults and would be bound together by the common goal of winning a championship. But acquiring Bumgarner could definitely make for some awkward team flights.
From a strictly baseball perspective, and how the Dodgers front office will look at things, Bumgarner to the Dodgers still does not make a whole lot of sense. He’s a good starting pitcher, but his ERA and FIP last year of 3.90 is nothing to go bonkers over, and he’s 30, an age where pitchers typically begin to regress.
There’s no ignoring his postseason success, something the Dodgers could absolutely use given their failures in the past seven years. However, there is no statistical significance in postseason performance and no guarantee that this would carry over to Los Angeles.
As free agency dominoes fall, Madison Bumgarner is now expected to fetch at least $100 million, too. https://t.co/Uc8wNE6xBR
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 4, 2019
One last important detail, as seen above, Bob Nightengale of USA Today has Bumgarner fetching a contract north of $100 million. There’s just about a negligible chance that Andrew Friedman hands that out to a 30 year old, slightly above average pitcher. Especially with that money (hopefully) being saved for one of the three marquee free agents still on the board.
When looking at the fans and players expected reaction to a Bumgarner signing, along with his iffy fit, it is extremely unlikely he heads to LA. It is also worth noting that there have been no legitimate reports linking the two sides. But, given the extensive history between Bumgarner and the Dodgers, it is an interesting hypothetical to consider.