This past season, teams that called the Giants about a Madison Bumgarner trade were told that he was not available, with San Francisco placing great importance on the left-hander's legacy, according to Buster Olney in an article for ESPN+ (subscription required).
But Olney argues that the club must at least consider dealing Bumgarner this offseason, with the southpaw starting to show signs of regression and set to hit the free-agent market in a year.
As Olney notes, Bumgarner's fastball velocity and OPS against his four-seamer are going in the wrong direction, as is his hard-hit rate, and it's questionable whether San Francisco should offer him a long-term contract extension. Meanwhile, trading Bumgarner may be the Giants' best chance to replenish a lackluster farm system.
Olney considers new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi the right person to make a tough decision about Bumgarner, as the former Dodgers general manager has no ties to the Giants' three World Series-winning clubs and can fairly assess Bumgarner's future without being swayed by his past.
Olney also writes that Bumgarner may still be viewed as an attractive trade target by many teams because of his track record and the fact that he requires only a one-year obligation for $12 million.