We need a true top of the rotation starting pitcher. We will not find that in the discount section of free agency.
My argument here is not that we should go sign the most expensive pitcher on the market, which would be Gerrit Cole (seriously, though, go sign Gerrit Cole). But what I am saying is that we should try to sign a second-tier free-agent starting pitcher. A bona fide ace. Specifically, we should try to sign Madison Bumgarner.
The numbers I am seeing thrown around for the easily offended long-haired lefty are in the neighborhood of $17m per year for 5-6 years. Now, that is a nice neighborhood. But, if we can get the villain of Game 7 for Alex Gordon money, we should do that.
Bumgarner threw over 207 innings this season. He started 34 games and he still strikes out a batter per inning. His WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched) this season was 1.12 and he gets nearly 5 strikeouts for every walk he issues. His ERA+ is still above average and his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) remains under 4.
I am confident that Bumgarner has now recovered from his rather bizarre bike wreck injury that ruined his 2017 season and seemed to linger into his 2018 season. His numbers this year are about where you would want them to be. And, about what we should expect him to do for the next few years.
He throws a few more curveballs now but his fastball is not gone. Is MadBum past his prime? Probably. But, his prime was pretty extraordinary. I still think it is a safe bet that he has 3-4 more top-notch seasons left in him.