3. Madison Bumgarner (3.90 ERA, 3.90 FIP)
This may come as a surprise to some as Jake Odorizzi was probably the starter that most thought would be here but it is the long-time enemy Madison Bumgarner. One of the main reasons is that MadBum has been very consistent over his career and outside of self-inflicted dirt bike injury, Bum has been a consistent workhorse over his big league career.
Unlike Odorizzi whose ERA was nearly a full run higher in 2018 than 2019, Bumgarner does not have a huge variance in his performance from year to year. Despite his ERA increasing in 2019, MadBum’s strikeout rate (8.8 K/9IP) and walk rate (1.8 BB/9IP) actually improved this year compared to last season. On a contending team, he should see his performance improve.
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Then there is the postseason where Bumgarner is regarded as a playoff legend. Although he has not pitched in the postseason since 2016, Madison owns a 2.11 ERA in the postseason and has the reputation of being a big-game pitcher. Outside of Walker Buehler, the Dodgers do not have a big game starting pitcher and Bumgarner could help bolster the Dodgers’ playoff rotation.
In case you are wondering about how Madison would fit in the Dodger locker room, I am sure he would get along just fine as he is good friends with Clayton Kershaw. MadBum would also be glad that he would no longer have to go get Max Muncy’s home run balls out of the ocean. Bumgarner will likely get a three year deal in free agency worth around $45-$48 million.
Starting pitchers that just missed the cut were Jake Odorizzi, Dallas Keuchel, and Cole Hamels who make up the second tier of free-agent starting pitchers. The second tier of free-agent starting pitchers will be ranked in another article. Rich Hill also makes up that second-tier given his ability when healthy.