Giants ink Bumgarner to five-year extension
Options could keep left-hander under contract through 2019
SAN FRANCISCO -- Continuing to put their money where their mound is, the Giants created stability for their pitching staff and their payroll Monday by signing Madison Bumgarner to a five-year, $35 million contract extension.The guaranteed portion of Bumgarner's deal establishes his salary for all of his arbitration-eligible seasons, when a player's salary can skyrocket. The contract also extends into 2017, his first year of free agency, and includes two option years. Thus, Bumgarner conceivably could remain a Giant through 2019 and, due to his youth (22), still become a free agent at age 30. According to SFX, Bumgarner's representatives, the left-hander received the most lucrative contract ever given to a player possessing between one year and two years of Major League service time. "I'm excited that they want to keep me here and feel good enough about me to want to have me here," said Bumgarner, who owns a 21-20 record with a 3.12 ERA in 57 games as a Giant. He also excelled in the 2010 postseason, finishing 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in four appearances. Signing Bumgarner reflected the organization's intent to retain primary members of the pitching staff, widely considered among baseball's best. Since last season ended, the Giants have signed four starters to multiyear deals: Matt Cain (six years, $127.5 million), Tim Lincecum (two years, $40.5 million), Ryan Vogelsong (two years, $8.3 million) and Bumgarner. The sum of those transactions exceeds $210 million. That doesn't count valuable left-handed reliever Javier Lopez (two years, $8.5 million) and third baseman Pablo Sandoval (three years, $17.15 million). And Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans laid groundwork for potential future signings by speaking with representatives for Lincecum and catcher Buster Posey in the wake of the Bumgarner signing. The objective, Evans said, was "to be sure that they're clear that they remain priorities." Cain, the longest-tenured Giant, summarized the impact of Monday's deal -- not only upon Bumgarner, but also on the club. "This is great," Cain said. "It gives him stability and it's something I hope we can keep building around even more. ... We want to keep these core guys around. We have a lot of guys who the Giants have brought up through the system who are having a lot of fun together, and I think they see that. There's something to be said for a group of guys who can have really good chemistry together. That can build a lot." Though the Giants are accepting a certain amount of risk by giving an eight-figure package to a pitcher who isn't even eligible for salary arbitration, they believe that Bumgarner, their No. 1 selection (10th overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, will justify the commitment. Evans cited Bumgarner's ability to carry out a pitcher's basic objective: throw strikes. Since 2010, Bumgarner has compiled the National League's second-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.71) and fifth-highest strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio (7.76). At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Bumgarner appears built for the long haul.
"Physically, he's really a specimen," Evans said. "He's got a great pitcher's body: tall, with long arms and big hands. And he has a smooth, mechanically sound delivery."The Giants also appreciate Bumgarner's quiet yet fervent determination. Said manager Bruce Bochy, "His makeup is off the charts." Bumgarner's annual salaries aren't off the charts, at least from the Giants' perspective. Due to earn $560,000 this year, Bumgarner will receive $750,000 next year, $3.75 million in 2014, $6.75 million in 2015, $9.75 million in 2016 and $11.5 million in 2017. The contract also calls for a $1 million signing bonus and a $1.5 million optional buyout. In addition, Bumgarner will get a limited no-trade clause that will enable him to block trades to eight teams each season. The 2018 season will become guaranteed for Bumgarner if he pitches 200 innings in 2017 or 400 innings in the previous two years. If that option doesn't vest, it becomes a club option. The 2019 season is strictly a club option. Bumgarner's salary for each of his option years is currently $12 million. That will rise to $14 million if he finishes among the top three in Cy Young Award voting by 2017. Should he win the Cy Young, his option-year wage soars to $16 million. "It comes down to what's best for you and your family," Bumgarner said. "I felt this was the right decision for us to make. I'm excited to be here and not have to worry about that [contractual] stuff now, just go out there and pitch. That's all I need to focus on. It kind of took a weight off my shoulders." Bumgarner, 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in two starts this season, is scheduled to pitch Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies and right-hander Joe Blanton.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.