The Nationals don’t appear content going into the season with Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina or Jayson Werth as the starting center fielder.
Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals have expressed interest in Diamondbacks’ outfielder Gerardo Parra. Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo signed Parra to his first professional contract when he was Arizona’s director of scouting from 2000-2006.
It’s not clear who the Nationals would offer in return, but Ladson mentions that the club has some starting pitching depth. That might not be very appealing for Arizona, though, as they already have a full rotation and plenty of young starting pitching on the way.
Parra won a Gold Glove in left field last season, but the addition of Jason Kubel is expected to push him into a part-time role this year. The 24-year-old batted .292/.357/.427 with eight homers, 46 RBI, 15 stolen bases and a .784 OPS in 2011 and has experience at all three outfield positions. He remains under team control through 2015.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”