On Sunday, the Arizona Diamondbacks made a bit of surprise of a free agent signing as they were able to sign Madison Bumgarner on a five-year deal worth $85 million but the Bumgarner deal may not have happened if not for the Colorado Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies were not involved in negotiations for Madison Bumgarner a few reasons. The main two were because he was well out of their price range and the club views their starting pitching as the strength of the club heading into 2020.
Therefore, they did not escalate the price of a possible deal and make it get out of a comfortable range for the Giants.
So how did they help the D’Backs sign Bumgarner and the Giants lose him?
As Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic noted on Twitter on Sunday night, there was “momentum toward a multiyear extension for Bumgarner in 2017…” That was until late April, when on an off-day in Colorado before a series against the Rockies at Coors Field, Bumgarner suffered a shoulder injury after a dirt bike accident.
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That knocked Bumgarner out for three months of the season and by then, the Giants season was long gone as they ended up going 64-98.
As Baggarly also noted, in 2018, the “Collective Bargaining Tax,” which is commonly referred to as the “luxury tax,” hamstrung the Giants on a possible extension. Even entering 2020, they have more than $111 million invested in just six players and in 2021, they will have more than $95 million invested in just five players. All of that is before they have any contracts with arbitration eligible players.
Therefore, they really cannot afford to have another large free-agent deal, like with Bumgarner, unless they go over the luxury tax.
For their part in Bumgarner leaving San Francisco, they won’t get any benefit as they will still have to face Bumgarner quite often since he is still staying in the NL West, to the Rockies chagrin.
With the D’Backs adding him, Bumgarner is the D’Backs third MLB free agent signing of the offseason. On the other hand, the Rockies are one of only five teams not to have a MLB free agent signing.