Diamondbacks sign Madison Bumgarner to five-year, $85 million contract

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Diamondbacks and free agent starter Madison Bumgarner have reached an agreement on a five-year contract. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the deal is for $85 million, $15 million of which is deferred.

Bumgarner, 30, was arguably the top free agent pitcher remaining on the market. The lefty is coming off of a season in which he posted a 3.90 ERA with 203 strikeouts and 43 walks over 207 2/3 innings. The ERA marked a career-high for the veteran, but it was also his first full season since 2016.

The D-Backs, who were in the NL Wild Card hunt this past season, add another strong lefty to a starting rotation that already includes Robbie Ray. The rotation now has more pitchers than spots available, so the D-Backs will have to make some decisions. Perhaps Mike Leake moves to the bullpen or Ray gets traded.

The Dodgers, Giants, and Padres — all division foes of the D-Backs — were reportedly interested in Bumgarner’s services during the Winter Meetings. This may make a reunion between the Dodgers and Hyun-Jin Ryu more likely. The Padres and Giants will have to look elsewhere for rotation help.

Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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