Apr 21, 2023 - Sports

D-backs designate Bumgarner for assignment

A baseball pitcher in a gray jersey and red hat looks down at the baseball in his left hand.

Madison Bumgarner has a 10.26 ERA this season. Photo: Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The future of one of the most decorated pitchers of his generation is suddenly up in the air.

Driving the news: The Diamondbacks designated Madison Bumgarner for assignment on Thursday, cutting bait with the 33-year-old who's been inconsistent at best since signing a five-year, $85 million deal before the 2020 season.

  • Arizona will eat the $34 million that's left on his contract.
  • Once he clears waivers, he can sign with any team for the MLB minimum ($720,000).

The backdrop: Before signing with Arizona, Bumgarner spent 11 seasons with the Giants where he pitched to a 3.13 ERA across 286 regular-season starts, earning four All-Star nods and four top-10 Cy Young finishes while compiling 37.5 WAR.

  • In the playoffs, he was even better, leading San Francisco to three World Series titles (2010, 2012, 2014) while going 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 16 appearances.
  • His 2014 WS MVP performance, capped by a five-inning save on two days' rest in Game 7, is the stuff of legend.

Yes, but: It's all gone downhill since then. Outside of a few good starts, like his seven-inning "no-hitter" in 2021, Bumgarner's performance in Arizona has been abysmal.

  • He had a 5.23 ERA and -0.3 WAR across 69 starts with the D-Backs, including a 10.26 ERA and -0.9 WAR in four games this season.

The big picture: This timing makes sense for Arizona. The young club is in first place in the NL West and viewed Bumgarner's albatross contract — and perhaps his behavior — as a sunk cost.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Phoenix stories


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more