Madison Bumgarner was designated for assignment Thursday by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who will eat more than $34 million remaining on the veteran left-hander’s contract, sources told ESPN.
Bumgarner, who signed a five-year, $85 million deal with Arizona before the 2020 season, has struggled during his four years with the Diamondbacks, posting a 5.23 ERA over 69 starts. Perhaps his worst outing with Arizona came Wednesday, when he allowed seven runs in three innings against the St. Louis Cardinals and saw his 2023 ERA balloon to 10.26.
Bumgarner, 33, is owed around $20.4 million for the remainder of this year and $14 million for the 2024 season. Once he clears waivers — it is unlikely a team would trade for him, as that team would have to assume the remainder of the money on his contract — Bumgarner would be eligible to sign with a team for the major league minimum of $720,000.
In Wednesday’s game, Cardinals hitters mashed five balls at 100 mph-plus and feasted on Bumgarner’s fastball, which has dipped on average to 89.5 mph this season, 1.7 mph slower than 2022.
“I wish I had some kind of answers,” Bumgarner told reporters. “Not that I’m not going to look for them — I’m going to look for them. But right now, I don’t have any for you guys. I wish I did. But I don’t.”
At 11-8, Arizona holds a two-game lead in the National League West division. With a young core led by outfielder Corbin Carroll and right-hander Zac Gallen — and one of the best farm systems in baseball — the Diamondbacks have prioritized transitioning from their rebuild to being competitive this year.
General manager Mike Hazen said last month that Bumgarner’s salary would not impact his role, emphasizing that the Diamondbacks “need to win baseball games.”
“We’ve never been asked to make decisions based on money or anything like that,” Hazen said, according to the Arizona Republic. “We need to win baseball games. We’re trying to win every single baseball game we’re going out to play. We want the five guys in the rotation to solidify those spots and give us some stability there. … We’ll continue to assess it as we go, but we need to win baseball games.”
Bumgarner arrived in Arizona after 11 standout seasons with the San Francisco Giants, where he won three World Series and made four All-Star Games. Long known for his intensity on the mound, he was involved in a brief verbal spat Wednesday with Willson Contreras after the Cardinals catcher fouled off a pitch. The two appeared to exchange multiple expletives before Contreras walked and emphatically flipped his bat.
Bumgarner did not reveal specific details about what Contreras said or did to bother him, telling reporters, “If you can’t see it, I don’t know how to help,” before ultimately acknowledging that he needs to “pitch better.”
“It’s very tough,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Wednesday. “The empathetic side of me hurts for him, and I want every pitcher to do well and I know how hard he’s working. He’s just grinding.
“The other side of me is extremely frustrated. I just want to see everybody do well to help us win baseball games, and of course that didn’t happen today.”