Madison Bumgarner will be the most prominent pitcher available in the trade market, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be the most coveted. Last summer, a bunch of big-name relievers were moved before July 31, including Jeurys Familia, Joakim Soria and Brad Hand, and as it turned out, the guy who had the most impact was a Red Sox reject who suddenly mastered his craft and blossomed at age 29 -- Ryan Pressly.
Since the Astros targeted him in trade talks with the Twins last summer, he has allowed two runs in 42 regular-season appearances (no runs in 2019), with three walks and 50 strikeouts. Either he or Josh Hader probably has the standing as baseball's best reliever, and yet most casual baseball fans wouldn't recognize Pressly.
It might be that other available starting pitchers could perform better than Bumgarner and perhaps draw more trade interest. But because of Bumgarner's excellent postseason history and his longstanding ties to the Giants, his situation will get the most attention -- and there is interest. San Francisco is willing to discuss the left-hander now, and with the July 31 trade deadline newly cemented and August safety-net deals no longer allowed, Bumgarner seems more likely to be moved soon after the draft in three weeks than to dangle in the market past the All-Star break.
Yes, Bumgarner does have a no-trade clause that includes eight clubs -- the Astros, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees. But, as we wrote in more detail Monday, interested executives see it as an opportunity for the pitcher to get some extra cash from the Giants on the way out -- and not as a roadblock to a deal.
Based on conversations with rival evaluators, here's how teams could stack up as possible fits for a Bumgarner trade with the Giants: