Should the Milwaukee Brewers Take a Flyer on a Former World Series MVP?
By Matt Carroll
For the second consecutive year, the Milwaukee Brewers find themselves in a tough spot in regards to their starting rotation. And injuries are once again the main culprit.
Aaron Ashby missed the start of the season before having his return date pushed due to shoulder surgery. Adrian Houser was going to start the season in the bullpen, but that didn't matter because he started the year on the injured list as well.
As if that weren't bad enough, "co-ace" Brandon Woodruff unexpectedly hit the IL recently and then got an injury update that didn't seem great. For a second, it seemed like actual ace Corbin Burnes might join him, but his recent injury thankfully won't result in him missing a start.
So it's safe to say the Brewers' starting pitching depth is being tested. Janson Junk and Colin Rea have filled in for some spot starts to varying degrees of success, but could Milwaukee instead look for some help from a recently DFA'd starter with a strong pedigree?
Should the Brewers take a flyer on former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner?
It's not every day you see a former World Series MVPs designated for assignment. But that's exactly what happened on Thursday when the Arizona Diamondbacks DFA'd Madison Bumgarner. Recent performance makes the move much less of a surprise.
After reaching free agency for the first time after the 2019 season, Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85MM deal with the Diamondbacks. But as it turns out, he would only make it part way through the fourth year of that deal.
Bumgarner made it nowhere near playing up to the level of that contract. In 69 games with Arizona, he compiled a 15-32 record, a 5.23 ERA, and a 1.379 WHIP. The lowest ERA he had in a season with them was 4.67 in the 2021 season.
That's a far cry from the success that Bumgarner enjoyed as a member of the San Francisco Giants. There, he had a career 119-92 record and 3.13 ERA, was a four-time All-Star, received NL Cy Young votes in five season twice finishing in 4th place, and most importantly was a three-time World Series winner, also being awarded both NLCS MVP and World Series MVP in 2014.
Though the Brewers rotation is in a tight spot, adding Bumgarner (should he likely clear waivers) should not be their priority. There's nothing in his recent history to insist that he would be that much of an improvement, if even at all, over some of their current options. It would better serve the team's future to give some of these extra starts to the younger players and get them used to the pressure of competing against Major League talent.
The thought of signing a starter with World Series pedigree is fun and all. But even if that player comes cheap, let some other team make the decision to sign a 33-year-old who may be approaching the end of their career.