The San Francisco Giants are built around their starting pitching. It's not that they don't have any offensive talent at all. They have Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey, and they have Brandon Belt, who might one day deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey. But it's mostly about Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner. And, sure, Ryan Vogelsong, if we're being nice.
The Giants recently signed Cain to a long-term contract extension. They've struggled to do the same with Lincecum, but they're trying. And, Monday, they've signed Bumgarner to a long-term contract extension. Good news, out of almost nowhere.
#SFgiants signed Madison Bumgarner to five-year extension.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) April 16, 2012
The extension runs through 2017, with 2018 and 2019 options. The 22-year-old Bumgarner was previously set to become a free agent after the 2016 season, so this contract buys out at least one of those free-agency years, and up to three of them. There's no word yet on the financials, but when there is, people who don't understand the concept of team control and arbitration years will wonder aloud why Cain got so much more money.
Preserving our core pitching for the long term remains a top priority for the Giants, and today's extension certainly helps further that goal. Madison has already proven that he is one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game today, and we are confident that he will continue to succeed for many years to come.
Bumgarner's thrown 337 major-league innings in his career, and he's posted a 3.12 ERA with nearly four strikeouts per walk. He's also thrown some quality innings in the playoffs, which for whatever reason people don't include. Bumgarner hasn't started 54 major-league games. He's started 57 major-league games! I guess this isn't the place to fight this battle.
Bumgarner's good, and young. You can never predict the future with players, and you can doubly never predict the future with pitchers. But if you're looking for there to be a successful future for a pitcher, a good place to start is with a pitcher who's good and young.