Madison Bumgarner was once thought to be the best starting pitcher that was likely to be moved by the 2019 MLB trade deadline. That may no longer be the case with the San Francisco Giants fighting for a playoff spot and the Toronto Blue Jays’ ace commanding attention from a large number of contenders.

Toronto isn’t going anywhere this season at 25 games under .500, and it could be a few years before they are ready to compete in the postseason. Marcus Stroman and the remaining one and a half years on his contract have been made available, as a result. It would be surprising if the right-hander isn’t traded by July 31.

Stroman has been one of the Blue Jays’ few bright spots. He ranks fifth in the American League with a 3.06 ERA and has only allowed 10 home runs. 

When Stroman threw seven shutout innings in Detroit Friday night, eight teams had scouts in the ballpark to watch the start in person, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. The New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres all had someone there as they pursue a starting pitcher before the deadline.

The Minnesota Twins didn’t have a scout at the game, but according to Morosi, they are also interested in Stroman.

For a few of those teams, making a trade for a starting pitcher would be in the hopes of getting over the hump and reaching the World Series, not simply earning a playoff berth. 

Marcus Stroman Toronto Blue Jays Marcus Stroman allowed one run in 7.1 innings against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Aug. 21, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Getty

The Yankees are running away with the AL East with a nine-game first-place lead. The Braves are 6.5 games ahead of the Washington Nationals atop the NL East. The Minnesota Twins have a three-game lead in the AL Central.

Tampa Bay is one game out of the AL Wild-Card race. San Diego is five games out of the NL Wild-Card race and a long shot to make the playoffs.

The Giants have jumped ahead of the Padres and a few others in the wild-card race. They are only 2.5 games out of the postseason, forcing the team to rethink their position on trading Bumgarner.

ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian said on Monday’s “Baseball Tonight” podcast that he doesn’t believe Bumgarner will be traded. ESPN’s Buster Olney noted on the show that Atlanta might be a top candidate to acquire the former World Series MVP if he becomes available.

Bumgarner has a 1.13 ERA in July, moving his overall ERA down to 3.65 for the 2019 season.