There is no doubt Pirates NEED to fix their pitching situation. It is pretty horrifying right now. In order to compete in 2020 and 2021 they need to add at least one quality arm.
Pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Steven Strasburg are way out of the salary range many teams can do, let alone the Pirates. Even if Bob Nutting gives the go ahead for a new general manager it just isn’t a wise move.
Enter Madison Bumgarner. While the past two few seasons are not up to the Ace type standing he was flirting with earlier in his career he is still a mid rotation worthy on most teams and with the Pirates he would be at the top of the rotation.
His 2019 stat line has a 3.90 ERA, 1.127 WHIP with and ERA+ of 107. Compared to the rest of the Pirates rotation that is pretty good. His previous two seasons combined have him at a 3.29 ERA, 1.172 WHIP and ERA+ of 122. In the post season he is all but lights out, if the Pirates are signing him it jumps up the chances they make the post season. Very respectable indeed.
Also as a pitcher he is a fairly good hitter and is known to drive the ball out of the part with 19 home runs since 2009 over 679 plate appearances gives him one home run every 35.7 plate appearances. Pretty good for a pitcher not named Ohtani.
Madison won’t be cheap, but no where near the Cole and Strasburg price. MLB Trade Rumors projects the Twins will pick him up on a four year $72m deal, this gives him an $18m annual average. This is a price the Pirate should be able to meet or beat.
In my opinion a four year $75m deal at $15m, $20m, $20m, $20m along with performance incentives for 150/200 innings pitched , strike outs 175/200 and walks less than 50/40 that add another 2.5M if all achieved. All of these he has done fairly constantly during his career when healthy. If he hits them all over the four years it would give him a value of $85m. This deal would beat out the Twins projected offer on guaranteed money and more potential for more
Add in Madison’s likely wanting to stay in the NL so he can hit also makes it more attractive for him. However he does have a QO attached to him. This does make a small problem for the small market Pirates who generally rely on in house talent to fill gaps either by hitting the MLB or for trade value. This is a fairly minor problem though. Given the four years of control and likely trade value of Madison, the positives “should” out weigh the negatives.
More than likely this type of deal will not happen or even be offered. But with a free agent pitching field this deep I could definitely see Madison jumping on it if he feels the team is making a real effort to improve.