Madison Bumgarner is an ace on a Hall of Fame trajectory. He is also, perhaps, the most underpaid player in the game. He’s making $11.5 million this year. He’s on $12 million team options for 2018 and 2019. This despite being a huge reasons the Giants have won three World Series titles since 2010.
Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com reports that both the Giants and Madison Bumgarner would like to get a contract extension sorted out for the ace. Yesterday, however, Bumgarner told reporters that he’s had no recent contract negotiations with the Giants. What gives?
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement mostly. As Buster Olney noted today, the Giants — and every other team — is treating the new, barely-growing luxury tax threshold as a defacto salary cap:
The luxury tax threshold was raised only slightly in the first years of the new deal, to $195 million this year, $197 million in 2018 and then $206 million, $208 million and $210 million in 2019-2021. There is a lot of indication since the agreement went into place that some teams are treating those thresholds as a salary cap, and the Giants are bumping against it . . . Because of how contracts are counted under the new CBA, with the average of each multi-year deal standing as the number used for luxury-tax purposes, the Giants can’t simply backload an extension to guarantee Bumgarner that he eventually be compensated.
Baseball teams have, for years, sought to cap player salaries, but never knew how to do it without illegally coordinating things. Tony Clark and the MLBPA gave teams a nice fat bogey to shoot for and a means of accomplishing it that eliminated the need to collude.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.