Madison Bumgarner could pitch behind Tim Lincecum as the Giants’ No. 2 starter to open the season, according to reports released earlier today.
The headline, “Bumgarner to be Giants’ No. 2 starter?” made uneasy right when I saw it.
I know this seems like relative non-news, and normally it wouldn’t stir up much more than a “Hm, that’s interesting,” but this news comes just a few days after it was reported that the Matt Cain negotiations are going nowhere.
And I’m afraid that this can only make things worse. It certainly doesn’t help.
I have no reason to believe Matt Cain is a petty man. In fact, he seems refreshingly bereft of ego. But why risk him taking offense to being dropped to the No. 3 starter? Why give him any reason to be less eager to re-sign?
Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m making too much out of absolutely nothing like some sort of paranoid, neurotic MacGyver.
But then I read this:
(Manager Bruce) Bochy has given enough thought to (the possibility of moving Bumgarner to No. 2) that he met with Cain on Wednesday to explain the situation.
To EXPLAIN the SITUATION!?!
This is a situation! And it needs explaining! Because clearly if the situation (!!!) weren’t explained to Cain he would almost assuredly take offense to the demotion and refuse to re-sign with the Giants and he’d probably toss the ball underhanded to every NL West opponent this season.
Maybe it’s time the Giants refocus their energy on re-signing Zito. Maybe if we’re lucky he’ll give us a hometown discount and let us re-sign him for half of what he originally signed for.
I guess I should point out the reason for all of this rotation shuffling isn’t without merit. But it is without strength. That reason is Ryan Voglesong‘s back. Voglesong injured his back while lifting weights and may not be ready for the start of the season. Bochy said starting Bumgarner behind Lincecum was a possible plan in case the right-handed Vogelsong doesn’t recover in time to make his first start. Moving Bumgarner to second and dropping Matt Cain down to third prevents the Giants from starting three left-handers in a row.
Which, you know, would be chaos. Can you imagine, three LEFT-HANDERS pitching three consecutive games?! GROSS!
I’m a baseball nerd in many ways, but I’ve never completely understood why the ideal rotation alternates between righties and lefties. Aren’t good pitchers good pitchers? And aren’t bad pitchers Todd Wellemeyer? Why is such importance placed upon the hand with which they throw?
(Look, I know there’s an actual reason, and I might discuss it further in a future post titled “My ignorance: Why I am unqualified to be writing about baseball,” but for now let’s just move on.)
I just don’t think the benefit of making a manager think “Woah! They’re starting a righty today but a lefty tomorrow?! Let’s hope the scout team can crack this code!” is greater than the benefit of keeping Cain as comfortable and happy while the Giants organization is in the midst of contract negotiations with him.
And I don’t think having three lefties as the Giants’ 3-5 starters is going to hurt. What will hurt if Voglesong misses a start or two is that two of the first five games will be started by Barry Zito and Eric Surkamp – regardless of what hand they throw with.
I know this sounds ridiculous. Really, I do. I read these words aloud as I type. But moving Bumgarner to No. 2 because R, L, R, L, L looks better than R, R, L, L, L isn’t worth any setback in the Cain+Giants=4eva equation.
Of course its always money that ultimately decides these things. Even I know that.
But the thought of Cain packing his bags for New York or Philadelphia or has me on edge, so every little factor that may affect his staying or going will be amplified to an unhealthy degree.
So sign him, Giants. Just sign him. Also, tell him you like his new haircut. He’d probably like that.