Giants Extend Madison Bumgarner

The trend of giving out long term deals to premium young players continued today, as the Giants locked up Madison Bumgarner through at least 2017, and the deal gives them team options for both 2018 and 2019. In exchange for long term control over Bumgarner’s future, the Giants guaranteed him $35 million over the next five years, with an additional $5 million possible if it turns out he would have qualified as a Super Two after this season.

As the very useful Transaction Tracker at MLBTradeRumors shows, the five year extension for quality young pitchers has been quite popular in recent years, but in general, teams have waited until they’ve had two years of strong performance before giving them this kind of contract. This deal looks very similar to the ones signed by Jon Niese, Derek Holland, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, Yovani Gallardo, and Jon Lester, but in each case, those pitchers had already accrued 2+ years of service time.

Bumgarner’s deal tops Ricky Romero‘s as the largest contract ever given to a pitcher with just 1+ year of service time under his belt, and reflects the fact that Bumgarner has been excellent at a young age and that prices for talent in Major League Baseball look to be going up. With the recent extensions signed by Joey Votto, Matt Cain, and Ryan Zimmerman – each of whom got over $100 million in guaranteed money despite not being free agents – teams are beginning to take steps to get cost certainty through the best years of their core players.

The dramatic escalation in salary once a player reaches arbitration can make it prohibitive to keep players on board beyond their first six years, as the Giants are experiencing right now with Tim Lincecum. Bumgarner wasn’t going to break arbitration in the same way that Lincecum did, but with continued health and strong performance, he likely could have landed a significantly larger contract in several years. However, he was willing to take the security of a guaranteed $35 million now in exchange for divesting himself of the risks associated with being a big league pitcher.

This is the kind of win-win deal that is growing so quickly in popularity that is becoming rare to not see a team and a premium young player not pursue this kind of path. By signing these deals early, the player ensures that he’ll get at least one really significant contract in his career, and also maintains the ability to reach free agency at an early enough age to get a second long-term contract if they stay healthy and perform well. Even if the Giants exercise both options and keep him under contract through 2019, he’ll still be eligible for free agency headed into his age 30 season. For Bumgarner, this doesn’t preclude another big payday at some point in the future if his career goes as well as he hopes.

The Giants potentially save significant dollars and get to keep one of their best young players in the organization through most of his expected prime. Bumgarner becomes a very wealthy man and sets himself up for a potential bite at free agency at an age when he could still command another large contract. These deals make so much sense for both sides that the growth in popularity of the early career extension is only going to continue.

The Giants had to pay a small premium to Bumgarner over what other comparable pitchers have received, but the extra cost is not so high that the team should have balked at the price and gone year-to-year instead. This is a wise move for their franchise, and with the escalating price of extensions, this deal may very well look like a relative bargain by the time next year’s round of long term deals are completed. Bumgarner gets the security that young pitchers should be seeking, and the Giants get to keep a talented young arm in the fold for the next five to seven years. It’s a win for everyone involved, and another sign of the increasing understanding of risk and reward in both the front offices and among representatives of Major League players.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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mhad
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mhad
4 years 1 month ago

#27 Front Office!

Arun
Member
4 years 1 month ago

So front offices seem to realize that years 2-5 of a player’s career usually end up better than years 7-10 or 7-12 or whatever.

Over/under for how many years it takes for front offices to stop signing relief pitchers to contracts longer than 2 years? My guess is it happens around 2015.

Ruben Amaro
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Ruben Amaro
4 years 1 month ago

Not if I have anything to say about it.

Ned Colletti
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Ned Colletti
4 years 1 month ago

Back off Amaro!

Mr. Observant
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Mr. Observant
4 years 1 month ago

I caught a very significant typo in your reply – you clearly meant to write ‘2115’ instead of ‘2015’. And Brian Cashman also wants his name added to your list of luminaries…(cough)…Rafael Soriano…(cough)

YanksFanInBeantown
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YanksFanInBeantown
4 years 1 month ago

Yeah, because it was definitely Cashman calling the shots on the Soriano deal.

Randy Levine had nothing to do with it.

cpebbles
Guest
cpebbles
4 years 1 month ago

Obviously a good deal if he stays healthy, and I don’t see anything in his mechanics that’s an obvious red flag for injury, but the guy’s velocity has gone away before. It was probably just a case of his mechanics getting out of order, but I’d want to be very sure of that before I signed the guy to this deal.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
4 years 1 month ago

Jesus, cpebbles, that was for just a very short time, mostly in spring training, before his major league career even started.

cwhitman
Member
cwhitman
4 years 1 month ago

I just noticed, he’s throwing over 40% sliders this year. that’s fairly worrying about his health.

kid
Member
kid
4 years 1 month ago

I was thinking the same thing. There was some narrative around here talking about how that pitch is being mistakenly categorized as a “slider”, but is really some other type of pitch. I’m always worried about these guys who are reliant on sliders to get their strikeouts, (Norris, E. Santana, etc) versus the guys who feature a changeup or curve.

magdalencollege
Guest
magdalencollege
4 years 1 month ago

Steve Carlton, Randy Johnson, Bob Gibson, and Tom Seaver relied pretty heavily on their sliders for K’s. Gibson was the only one of this group who didn’t finish with over 4,000 IP, and if you include his World Series starts, Gibson was only about 35 innings shy of 4,000. Not one of these pitchers had a particularly effective change-up.

The most comprehensive studies have shown that sliders are no harsher on the arm than a fastball.

Dan M.
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Dan M.
4 years 1 month ago

So I guess as long as Mad Bum is first ballot HOF-er he’ll be fine.

EricR
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EricR
4 years 1 month ago

Bumgarner as potential first ballot HOF may not be that wild of a thought, as early in his career as he is:

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=160&type=1&season=2011&month=0&season1=1900&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=21,21&players=0&sort=4,d

That’s every 21 year old pitching season, sorted by K/BB ratio. Bumgarner was one K away from having the best ratio of any 21 year old over the last 100 years. Few people have ever exhibited his K rate with his level of control, ever.

antonio bananas
Guest
antonio bananas
4 years 1 month ago

I want to see these comprehensive studies. Sure there’s no flaw in how many people flame out REALLY early? Mechanics are unique and each person has different mechanics. However, if you were to go outside and throw a fastball, a curve, a change, and a slider, you’d be able to tell immediately that the slider is the most painful.

My guess is that there was a flaw in the study.

Craig
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Craig
4 years 1 month ago

Its an 11 inning sample size. I doubt that trend continues.

DD
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DD
4 years 1 month ago

He’s throwing all of Lincecum’s sliders too.

Baltar
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Baltar
4 years 1 month ago

Funny comment, but Lincecum’s throwing his own sliders again.

magdalencollege
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magdalencollege
4 years 1 month ago

Dr. James Andrews and his colleagues at ASMI have pretty much dispelled the notion that sliders or other breaking pitches are any harsher on the arm than a fastball.

Travis L
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Travis L
4 years 1 month ago

From a human perspective, I can’t endorse this viewpoint.

But doesn’t it seem like the Giants (and Padres) produce pitchers pretty effectively, early, while (non-Lincecum category) rather cheap. Shouldn’t the Giants express confidence in their pitcher-development ability rather than making the Cain and Bumgardner deals?

Hate to see these young men get treated like they’re fungible… but shouldn’t a pitching rich, hitting poor development org realize they can (and have) developed continued generations of pitchers like Lince/Cain/Bumgrdner?

Simon
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Simon
4 years 1 month ago

Look at their farm right now. How many prospects with a top of the rotation ceiling do they have? I can’t think of any. I think it’s much more likely that they were a bit lucky in getting three really good pitchers at the same time, and they should lock up as many of them as they can for as long as they can.

jp_on_rye
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jp_on_rye
4 years 1 month ago

Uh, no. I would say that developing three first round picks (two of them top 10 picks) into great pitchers over the course of 10 years should not make the Giants think they can always just produce another Cain or Bumgarner or Lincecum. And, at the moment, in terms of pitching, the system is pretty bare. The top pitching prospect (Kyle Crick) is in low-A and a long way away from the major leagues.

Johnny Come Lately
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Johnny Come Lately
4 years 1 month ago

What about Zach Wheeler? D’OH!

Sabean Wannabe
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Sabean Wannabe
4 years 1 month ago

To TRY and develop great young talent on a regular basis is (I’m sure), every teams goal. To COUNT on it, is very, very risky. The Giants can pat themselves on the back for having three aces on their staff under the age of 28. To run your organization like you can keep on doing it over and over is either stupid or extreme arrogance. This is just more of the magical Righetti/pixie dust meme.

Five years from now if the Giants have Cain and Bumgarner and have developed ANOTHER Cain and Bumgarner, well… then….start chilling the champagne now….

Graham
Guest
Graham
4 years 1 month ago

@cwhitman — PitchFX doesn’t do a great job of identifying Bumgarner’s pitches. He throws a kind of hybrid “slutter” — somewhere in between a slider and a cutter, and most likely not as taxing on the arm as a pure slider.

I like this deal a lot because of the options at the back end (duh). It’s true that MadBum will be a bit overpaid in his first year or two of arbitration, but given his performance last year (plus his rookie season, his postseason performance, and the fact that he’s still just 22), I see no reason why he can’t be a $12-$18 mil / year pitcher for at least several of the years of this contract. Bumgarner has the chance to substantially outperform this deal.

PrinceOfBeers
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PrinceOfBeers
4 years 1 month ago

>slutter

Are you implying Bumgarner’s pitches are seductive to hitters?

Feeding the Abscess
Guest
Feeding the Abscess
4 years 1 month ago

Bumgarner throws a cutter that sits at 88-90, and a slider in the low 80s, although I’d probably say the slider is more of a slurve. The difference is pretty obvious when watching games, I’m not sure why PITCHf/x has such a hard time differentiating between the two.

Big Jgke
Member
Big Jgke
4 years 1 month ago

So with his recent drop in velo and crappy results so far, has Lincecum gone from being a ballsy maverick for going year to year with his arb payments to somebody who has conceivably (and imprudently) left money on the table that a deal like this would have provided?

kellin
Member
kellin
4 years 1 month ago

A deal like this? Bum is going to make either 35 or 40 million total through his arb and 1 FA year. Lincecum will make more than that in just his final 2 Arb years. Just during his arbitration years, Timmy made at least Double this contract. His decision making has been pretty good thus far!

dustygator
Member
dustygator
4 years 1 month ago

Timmy is also the only pitcher to ever win two Cy Youngs in his first three season. There really is no comparison to him, that’s why he was asking for a record amount in arbitration and why the 2-year deals he agreed on were so high.

kellin
Member
kellin
4 years 1 month ago

Agreed, I’m just saying that there weren’t very many dollars left on the negotiating tables by Lincecum.

fred
Guest
fred
4 years 1 month ago

3 cr@ppy starts so far this year.

Shankbone
Guest
Shankbone
4 years 1 month ago

And the analysis didn’t include any references to Raggs’ Kool Aid or PacBell’s Pixie Dust. I feel cheated. That #27 front office should of traded MadBum for Yovani Gallardo. That is where the value is at.

Justin
Guest
Justin
4 years 1 month ago

Considering Matt Moore’s extension was only about 15mil guaranteed, I think the Giants paid too much. Bumgarner is obviously an outstanding young pitcher, but he only had an additional year and a half of service time on Moore. I would have figured the guaranteed money would be closer to 25 million with the possibility of 30 if Super Two.

MrKnowNothing
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MrKnowNothing
4 years 1 month ago

in fairness to the Giants, MadBum has proven A LOT more than Moore has in the bigs.

Domenic
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Matt Moore signed his extension with a grand total of 19.1 IP at the Major League level, including the postseason … and that in and of itself played a large role in the Rays ability to lock him up to a more favorable deal. There’s more risk involved on their behalf, as Moore is a lesser-known commodity with a lesser track record.

Bumgarner, as of today, has thrown 357.2 IP in the Majors. In 2011, he ranked fourth in MLB in FIP, seventh in xFIP, and 11th in WAR.

Justin
Guest
Justin
4 years 1 month ago

An additional 300 IP at the major league level is not worth an extra 20 million when the player has not reached arbitration. Also, Moore’s minor league numbers were significantly better than Bumgarner (even though his numbers were great as well). I understand the Giants obviously have to pay more than the Rays did, but 20 mil seems a bit much

Domenic
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

I’m not sure why I can’t reply to Justin – sorry.

Bumgarner is a more proven commodity with a greater track record to point to when he (likely) attains Super 2 status – a tremendously important consideration. Said proven commodity was also one of the very best pitchers in baseball last year, and had that as a bargaining chip against a team that has been screwed by the arbitration process before.

jp_on_rye
Guest
jp_on_rye
4 years 1 month ago

He also had 325.1 major league innings pitched at a 3.10 ERA / 3.06 FIP / 3.35 xFIP, with 7.3 fWAR, compared to Moore’s 9.1 major league innings pitched.

dustygator
Member
dustygator
4 years 1 month ago

He was also pretty damn good during the 2010 World Series run.
20.2 innings, 5 ER, 18 Ks, 5 BBs including that magnificent game 4 in the WS. At Age 21 as well.

Justin
Guest
Justin
4 years 1 month ago

I’m not questioning whether Bumgarner is one of the best young pitchers in the game. I’m just saying that compared to other contract extensions (Moore 14 mil, Lester & Gallardo 30 mil with more service time than Bum) that the Giants could have saved another 5-10 million

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Moore’s contract is ridiculously favorable to the Rays and there has been substantial salary inflation in baseball since Gallardo’s contract was signed. In fact, there has been significant inflation since Moore’s contract was signed!

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Don’t know Moore’s deal, but I would note that Bumgarner’s deal includes one year of Bumgarner’s free agent year for roughly $12M, plus provides options to get his 2nd and 3rd years as well, for $12M. If he’s anywhere as good as he was in 2011, his first three free agent years are absolute bargains, on top of the bargains provided by arbitration.

MightySlacker
Guest
MightySlacker
4 years 1 month ago

I wonder if this contract is good enough to get Bumgarner to crack the top 50 in the next trade value list?

Franco
Guest
Franco
4 years 1 month ago

I can’t think of 50 players I would’ve wanted more before this contract and the contract is a nice gamble from the Giants POV.

Larry Yocum
Guest
Larry Yocum
4 years 1 month ago

Nah. No. 27 front office can’t do trades anyway so Bumgarner has no trade value. There are some Giants haters at fangraphs. When the pitching does well, it’s just because of the stadium or Righetti. Nevermind that many of these guys pitch just as well or better on the road. It’s the magic inside.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Great new! Win, win for the Giants and Bumgarner. Anybody want to bring up their “window of opportunity” to win closing?

y
Guest
y
4 years 1 month ago

you are insufferable.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
4 years 1 month ago

I didn’t know they had a “window of opportunity” to win, any more than a dozen or so other teams. Sure, they can defy the odds and win a WS like they did in 2010, but it’s not like they’re a heavy favorite.

And even if they did have such a window, this contract wouldn’t impact it much. They had him under control for a few years either way, and I doubt any potential savings would be the difference between a WS or bust.

fred
Guest
fred
4 years 1 month ago

i’m a Giants fan Dr. B, but it doesn’t look as good as it did going into 2011 – Timmy’s having troubles, B. Wilson could be done, Belt is no longer the sure thing he looked to be, Wheeler is gone for…nothing, Freddie Sanchez’s health is questionable, its possible Buster gets moved to 1B in the long run(decreasing his value), and the farm system is at best in the lower 3rd in MLB so not much help on the way – and most of this has happened in just the last 12 months. i thought they had a chance to make two more WS appearances in next 5 years after 2010 win but it looks kinda slim now, they’re just run of the mill playoff team, if that.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
4 years 1 month ago

I like your comment, but I got a kick out of “at best in the lower 3rd.” I guess they are at worst in the 4th 3rd.

CircleChange11
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

I thought ASMI showed that the curveball thrown properly is not an injury risk.

I did not think they included the slider in that study, and I reviewed their studies for our youth/travel leagues.

The slider involves a sharp twist of the wrist, the curveball does not (or should not).

Franco
Guest
Franco
4 years 1 month ago

The only study I recall about sliders doing more damage was on really young kids in little league. And even than it was a small effect, with pitch load being the only high correlation with injuries.

I’ve read plenty of flimsy articles on how sliders cause injuries to grown men, but I don’t think any of them have been credible.

Dan M.
Guest
Dan M.
4 years 1 month ago

To the people who kidnapped Brian Sabean: you won’t get away with this!
– Dodgers Fans.

Larry Yocum
Guest
Larry Yocum
4 years 1 month ago

Comparing the Bumgarner deal to the Matt Moore deal is like comparing the Cain deal to the Weaver deal. It isn’t fair to compare those deals.

Those two deals were incredibly favorable to those two clubs and likely far below the value that those players would have gotten had they either hit the open market or in Moore’s case waited out arbitration. Every team is hoping to lock up their young talent to those types of deals. You can’t expect every player to take deals far below market value though just because somebody else did.

The Bumgarner deal is a great gamble for the Giants, especially since the two back years are optional and at what looks like an extremely low cost to the club compared to what they paying Lincecum in arbitration and what they will be paying Cain for his first 2 years of free agency.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
4 years 1 month ago

This deal almost, but not quite, makes up for the horrible Cain deal.

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