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Mad-Bum says 2nd act with D-Backs can be as memorable as 1st

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Madison Bumgarner

FILE – In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, San Francisco Giants’ Madison Bumgarner waves toward fans before pinch hitting against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco. The Giants plan to meet with the free agent left-hander’s representatives during the December 2019 baseball winter meetings in San Diego. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

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PHOENIX (AP) — The first act of Madison Bumgarner’s baseball career consisted of 11 hugely successful seasons that included three World Series titles with the San Francisco Giants.

The 30-year-old left-handed pitcher believes his second act in Arizona can be just as memorable.

The Diamondbacks finalized their $85 million, five-year contract with the 2014 World Series MVP on Tuesday, announcing the deal and introducing their newest ace at Chase Field.

“First and foremost, winning is what the whole decision was based on,” Bumgarner said. “Being with a team, that in my mind, plays my brand of baseball. Plays the way I like to play.”

Bumgarner’s deal pays $6 million next year, $19 million in 2021, $23 million in both 2022 and 2023, and $14 million in 2024. Arizona will defer $5 million annually from 2021 to 2023, money paid in $5 million installments each Nov. 1 from 2025-27. He gets a hotel suite on the road, the right to block trades to five teams and four premium seats at all games.

Bumgarner said Arizona was his “No. 1 place” when he talked with his agent about potential new destinations and said he “definitely left some money on the table” to come to the Diamondbacks. The North Carolina native said he’s always enjoyed Arizona during spring training when he was with the Giants, and would usually rent a place in the Phoenix area where he could bring his family.

Now he’s looking forward to it being his second home.

The move was announced two days after the sides reached an agreement pending a successful physical. It’s a marquee addition for GM Mike Hazen, who adds the lefty to a rotation that also could include Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Mike Leake, Merrill Kelly or Alex Young.

Hazen said the team didn’t start the offseason targeting Bumgarner, but once talks started it became an obvious fit.

“His presence, his leadership, certainly his track record,” Hazen said. “All the things we’ve watched from across the field with the success he’s had with the San Francisco Giants, we felt this was a big add for us.”

It is an intriguing decision for the D-backs, who don’t neatly fit into the category of a small-market or large-market team. They’ve occasionally made splashes in free agency — like when they signed Zack Greinke to a $206.5 million, six-year deal ahead of the 2016 season — but usually are content to have a payroll in the middle of the MLB pack.

Arizona finished 85-77 last season after trading Greinke to Houston in July. Now the D-backs are trying to build a roster that can catch the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won 106 games last season to earn their seventh straight NL West title.

If the D-backs can reach the postseason, Bumgarner’s presence could prove invaluable. He’s best known for his postseason performance — he is 4-0 with a memorable Game 7 save and an 0.25 ERA in World Series play, and has pitched two shutouts in NL wild-card games.

Bumgarner matched his career high with the 34 starts this year, moving past two frustrating, injury-shortened seasons. He won 119 games and has a 3.13 career ERA with the Giants and said he loved his time in the Bay Area, thanking the fans for their support for more than a decade.

During his tenure, the Giants won the World Series in 2010, ‘12 and ’14. While Arizona forfeits its second-highest draft pick, currently No. 34, San Francisco gains an extra pick, roughly No. 70, as compensation.

“We thank Madison for all that he has given to the Giants and the Bay Area community and we are deeply grateful for the success, excitement and memories he created over a remarkable 11-year period in a Giants uniform,” the team said in a statement.

The four-time All-Star missed nearly three months in 2017 after an April dirt bike accident during an off day in Colorado. Then Bumgarner broke the pinkie on his pitching hand when he was hit by a line drive in his final 2018 spring training start, undergoing surgery to insert pins into the finger. He returned in June that year and wound up 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 starts and 129 2/3 innings.

Bumgarner’s signing comes with a substantial amount of risk. His home-road splits were drastic last season: the left-hander had a 2.93 ERA at home in San Francisco but a 5.29 ERA on the road.

“We feel like we’re getting a top of the rotation starting pitcher,” Hazen said. “We’ve parsed through a lot of the numbers. It is what it is. I get it. But what we saw this year, we thought we saw a really good starting pitcher. We feel like he’s pitched at a level that we as an organization can benefit from.”

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

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