The Arizona Diamondbacks have reportedly designated pitcher Madison Bumgarner for assignment after four messy and regrettable starts to open the 2023 season, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. This essentially ends Bumgarner's time with the team and leaves the D-backs on the hook for the remainder of his salary, a staggering $34 million over the next two years.
That is a lot of money to pay a guy to essentially go away and stop pitching for your team, but one look at Bumgarner's stats this year tells you why the Diamondbacks would be willing to pay $34 million to wave goodbye. In four 2023 starts, the 33-year-old Bumgarner has an ERA of 10.26. He didn't last more than five innings in any of those starts, he threw at least 80 pitches in all of his outings, and in the 16 2/3 innings he pitched, he tossed just one 1-2-3 inning.
Bumgarner is on the older side for pitchers, but he hasn't yet hit 35, so it seems a bit premature for him to be falling apart like this. That said, he has been pitching in the majors since 2009, when he was just 19 years old. He has already had a 15-year career, a mark many pitchers don't reach. (Jamie Moyer, who pitched in MLB until he was 49, didn't hit 15 years in the majors until he was 38.)
That's a lot of wear and tear on an arm, which started to show up in a major way in 2020, the year Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Diamondbacks. He had a 6.48 ERA over nine starts in that pandemic-shortened season and finished 2021 and 2022 with a combined ERA of 4.78. His average ERA in his three-plus seasons with the D-backs is 5.23.
If this is the end of the road for Bumgarner, he'll be remembered for much more than his time in Arizona. He spent the first 11 years of his career with the San Francisco Giants, helping the team win three World Series trophies. He was selected to the All-Star Team four times and won two Silver Slugger awards. It's not clear if Bumgarner's future is in MLB or elsewhere, but one thing is for sure: Giants fans will love Bumgarner forever.