Madison Bumgarner has been a mainstay in the San Francisco Giants' rotation for the last decade but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Now a free agent, the 31-year-old southpaw is garnering interest from several teams around the league, most notably the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.
Keeping their ace may be a tough task for the rebuilding Giants based on the interested teams mentioned above, and if Bumgarner decides to sign elsewhere, the club will need another top-end pitcher to lead their rotation going forward.
With that in mind, here are three free-agent pitchers San Francisco should sign if Bumgarner walks this offseason.
3. Dallas Keuchel
It's not every day that a team can replace one Cy Young-caliber pitcher with another, but if the Giants play their cards right, they might be able to do so with Dallas Keuchel. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner has been one of the more reliable arms in the league over the past three years, owning a 3.48 ERA since the 2017 season and should be an effective pitcher in the Bay Area with the Giants' stellar defenders backing him up (.986 team fielding percentage, T-No. 4 in MLB). If signed, Keuchel would give the Giants an established veteran arm for a relatively cheaper price than the most sought-after free-agent pitchers available this offseason. Well, unless he decides to hold out again, that is.
2. Zack Wheeler
A Zack Wheeler-Giants reunion isn't the most popular possible homecoming narrative being spun this offseason, but signing the 29-year-old righty would definitely be a smart move to replace Bumgarner. Originally drafted by the Giants in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Wheeler has compiled a 44-38 record with a 3.77 ERA since breaking into the bigs in 2013. Those aren't exactly head-turning numbers, but Wheeler is a highly-regarded free agent based on his potential (726 strikeouts in 749 1/3 career innings pitched) rather than his track record. If he can fully develop into what scouts expected him to become, Wheeler would provide the Giants with a strong top-of-the-rotation starter going forward.
1. Gerrit Cole
Shelling out big money in free agency hasn't been San Francisco's M.O. in recent years, but if they truly want to replace Bumgarner this offseason, breaking the bank for Gerrit Cole is the right way to do it. The 2019 AL Cy Young Award finalist is coming off one of the best pitching seasons of the modern era, going 20-5 with a AL-best 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and an MLB-best 326 strikeouts (212 1/3 innings pitched). A Southern California native, it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that Cole might want to sign with a team closer to home, and while the Bay Area could be a little more north that Cole may like, he might just sign with the Giants if the price is right.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.