The Twins are making it a priority to land a significant starting pitcher this offseason, with Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco, and Bronson Arroyo among the reported possibilities. And Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN hears that they are willing to go to great lengths in order to meet their goal.
We can safely assume that the Twins aren’t talking five years with Arroyo, so that probably leaves Garza or Nolasco. Garza may ultimately be the better fit on a long-term deal since he’s a year younger than Nolasco. And while he didn’t enjoy much success during his time in Texas, he also possesses more upside. Still, a lot of things can go wrong with pitchers and long-term deals.
It’s a little unusual to see the Twins being so aggressive in free agency, but they are determined to find an upgrade after their rotation was far and away the worst in the majors this past season with a 5.26 ERA. When Kevin Correia is your best starting pitcher, you have a problem.
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.”