Astros: With Zack Wheeler taken, is Madison Bumgarner next in line?

The Houston Astros apparently struck out on Zack Wheeler. Does that make Madison Bumgarner the next logical starting pitcher in line to pursue?

Much to my surprise, the Astros were reportedly one of the teams that were in talks with free-agent starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. But, it was all for naught, with the Philidelphia Phillies winning out signing him to a five-year $118 million dollar contract. Is Madison Bumgarner now on their radar?

With Wheeler now off the board, the next man down the totem pole is Bumgarner. Wouldn’t it make sense that the teams that were in on Wheeler also have an interest in Bumgarner? After all, he follows Wheeler as the next available starting pitcher on MLB.com’s list of free agents.

It certainly wouldn’t be out of the question for the Astros to show interest in Bumgarner. Houston was involved in trade talks with San Francisco in an attempt to possibly bring him to Houston this past July. But we all know how that turned out with Zack Greinke coming to town in a last-minute acquisition, just beating out the trade deadline.

Bumgarner would be quite the offseason prize if it were to come to fruition. The 30-year old veteran has had a storied 11-year career with the Giants.  The four-time All-star has a career 3.13 ERA and a 119-99 record. His season-ending ERA has never crept above the 4.00 mark.

His career SO/BB ratio of 4.192 is ninth among active pitchers, just below Gerrit Cole‘s 4.24. He is also ranked seventh on that list of active pitchers with a 1.111 WHIP. Not to mention, he’s no slouch behind the plate winning two Silver Slugger Awards.

Last season he led the Major Leagues in starts with 34 and has started over 30 games in seven of the last nine seasons. So along with his pitching capabilities, Bumgarner is obviously a pitcher that a team can depend late into the season and beyond.

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Whether the Astros have a shot at bringing Bumgarner to town or how serious the interest actually is, there is no doubt he’d be a great asset to the Astros rotation. Can you imagine teams having to face Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and then lefty Madison Bumgarner? It’s a tall order and I’m not sure how he would fit into an already steep payroll, but I sure like the thought of it.

 

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