Madison Bumgarner’s thoughts on the opener movement that hit MLB during the 2018 season are about what you would expect: he is extremely not a fan.
During an appearance at the San Francisco Giants FanFest on Saturday, manager Bruce Bochy mentioned that he received a text from the team’s ace after new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the team might make use of an opener. The contents of the text were basically a threat.
Bochy said Bumgarner sent him a text after Zaidi said Giants might use openers. “If you use an opener in my game I’m walking right out of the ballpark.”2,7429:39 PM – Feb 9, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy600 people are talking about this
The good news for Bumgarner and whoever would have to tell Bumgarner the team is using an opener is that the Giants are probably not going to be using an opener in front of Bumgarner.
Openers are widely used to cover up for starters who can’t deliver many innings on the mound, artificially extending starts at the cost of an extra reliever appearance. It’s a calculation that a bunch of planned shorter appearances from decent relievers is better than hinging a game on a single mediocre starter.
Bumgarner is not a mediocre starter, and he’s averaged more than 6.5 innings per start since his first full season in the rotation back in 2011. He has not had an ERA above 3.37 in his career.
Basically, Bumgarner should be more worried about one of his teammate’s idea coming true than having to pitch behind an opener in the future.