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Report: Giants willing to trade Madison Bumgarner

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Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Giants are willing to enter trade talks regarding Madison Bumgarner. He says that, so far anyway, the Giants have talked to the Phillies and Brewers on a preliminary basis.

Dealing Bumgarner would not be the most popular move for new Giants president Farhan Zaidi — the guy is a legend in San Francisco — but it’s also the case that (a) the Giants are not competitive and need to, at the very least, restructure; and (b) Bumgarner may be the most valuable trade chit they have.

Bumgarner famously signed an extraordinarily team-friendly deal with the Giants before the 2012 season. The 2019 season — in which he’ll play on the second of two team options — marks his last year under contract and he’ll make only $12 million for the campaign. Since signing that deal he’s gone 90-64 with a 3.02 ERA in 200 starts and has led the club to two World Series titles. While he missed a good deal of time in each of the last two seasons due to freak injuries, he has been effective, posting a 3.29 ERA (123 ERA+) in 38 starts. His career ERA+: 123 as well.

With Bumgarner healthy, relatively rested given two short seasons, cheap due to his contract and only 29 years-old, any team that is interested in a front-of-the-rotation starter should be looking at Bumgarner. It makes sense, then, that the Giants are at least considering shopping him.

Phillies-Mets could get contentious tonight

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As the Mets were wrapping up a 9-0 shellacking of the Phillies on Tuesday night, reliever Jacob Rhame threw a pitch up and in to first baseman Rhys Hoskins with two outs in the ninth inning. The pitch sailed behind Hoskins’ back. The slugger wasn’t happy about the scare, understandably. Players began to trickle out of their respective dugouts, but a fracas was avoided.

Hoskins was skeptical that Rhame simply missed his spot. Per MLB.com’s Thomas Harrigan, Hoskins said, “He didn’t miss up and in the rest of the inning, so I’ll let you decide. I would assume teams are pitching me in because that’s where they think they can get me out, and that’s fine. That’s part of the game. Again, I think most guys are capable of pitching inside and not missing that bad.”

Teammate Bryce Harper said, “I don’t get it. I understand that two of their guys got hit yesterday. But, I mean, if it’s baseball and you’re going to drill somebody, at least hit him in the [butt]. Not in the head. You throw 98, it’s scary now. You could kill somebody. Lose your eyesight. That’s bigger than the game.”

Indeed, two Mets were hit by pitches on Monday night. José Álvarez hit Jeff McNeil in the seventh inning, which advanced a base runner. In the very next at-bat, Juan Nicasio hit Pete Alonso with a first-pitch fastball. It was obvious neither was intentional as the Phillies were only down two runs and hitting both batters advanced base runners and led to runs scoring. It is less obvious that Rhame’s pitch to Hoskins was unintentional, but he showed empathy in his post-game comments. Rhame said, “When you accidentally sail one, it’s probably pretty scary. I’d get [angry], too.”

Will Wednesday night’s series finale be contentious? Despite being “fairly upset,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, “We do not retaliate, and we do not throw at anybody intentionally,” Jake Seiner of the Associated Press reports.

Mets manager Mickey Calloway didn’t give as straight an answer. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Calloway said, “I think at this point, you just go out there and beat people, and win. … For now, I don’t feel like anything has been intentional at us that has warranted anything from our side.” If that changes, however, Calloway said, “They’re going to have each other’s backs.”

Hopefully, neither side decides to take justice into their own hands. But, welcome to the NL East in 2019. The Mets lead the Phillies by one game, and the Braves and Nationals by 1.5 games. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out division fight all year long.