When you first consider Madison Bumgarner being traded to the Braves, it can make a lot of sense. For starters, do you remember that part in Moneyball where Billy Beane suggests Scott Hatteberg to his scouts? Everyone in the room goes, “who?” Brad Pitt’s character says, “Exactly. The guy sounds like an Oakland A already.” Bumgarner is not exactly in the same context – we all know he is. But when you consider his story, it’s amazing he’s not already a Brave.
Bumgarner was born in Hickory, North Carolina and received a great amount of love after dominating in high school for the South Caldwell High School Spartans. He still lives in the area during the offseason on a farm. Oh, and he grew up a big Braves fan who idolized Greg Maddux while watching the former Braves ace on TBS.
He’s battle-tested in pennant races and the playoffs, famously tossing eight shutout innings in his first World Series start back in 2010 and absolutely crushing the Royals’ dreams in 2014 with a Game 5 shutout and five scoreless innings in relief in Game 7.
The Braves love local boys. They would love a front-of-the-rotation arm to plop in front of youngsters Mike Soroka and Max Fried, along with re-emerging Mike Foltynewicz. It seems like a perfect match.
But is it? Here’s a spoiler alert – the answer is far more murky than many want to believe it is. That included me.