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The Giants severed ties with their co-home run leader, RBI leader and most inspirational player.
That doesn’t bode well for fans hoping the Giants will bring back Madison Bumgarner.
In explaining why popular center fielder Kevin Pillar wasn’t tendered a contract Monday, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said it wasn’t about finances as much as looking deeper into the future and opening doors to younger players.
Zaidi’s decisions are heavily dictated by advanced analytic data. If they were emotionally based, he probably would have brought back Pillar, but Zaidi weighed the cold, hard numbers — the ones that go well beyond homers and RBIs — and didn’t see a good enough fit for the projected price.
There’s no reason to imagine the thinking on Bumgarner will be any different. Like Pillar, Bumgarner is 30. Though some numbers suggested an uptick in 2019, Bumgarner isn’t the pitcher he once was, and now he’s heading toward the back end of his career.
Zaidi has Jeff Samardzija under contract for another season and Johnny Cueto for another two. Including Bumgarner in the rotation would leave just two spots for starters of the future.
Zaidi said of the Pillar decision, “We want to continue to create opportunities for our younger players.” He could use the same line if or when Bumgarner signs with the Braves or another team.