LOS ANGELES -- Enjoy this one, Giants fans. When Madison Bumgarner toes the rubber at Dodger Stadium tonight, it almost certainly will be his final appearance in the rivalry.
The Giants fully intend to trade their longtime ace before the July 31 deadline, and once he gets past this start against the Dodgers -- and Max Muncy -- it really could happen at any time. We have reached the point where any interested teams have to discuss the value of having Bumgarner for an extra three to four starts, and there's no guarantee this derby lasts until the end of July.
For now, we've got Madison Bumgarner vs. the Dodgers, always a good show. But trade talks will pick up in the aftermath, so let's put potential destinations in tiers as July approaches:
Make the Most Sense: Twins, Brewers, Braves, Phillies
A Bumgarner rumor out of Minnesota over the weekend was debunked, but the Twins still make a ton of sense. They have one of the best rotations in the AL but it lacks postseason experience, and Bumgarner could step in to try and lead a young staff through October. Plus, the Twins are not on his no-trade list, so a deal could come together a bit easier.
The Brewers were in San Francisco last weekend and showed how little starting pitching they have, and they have been a rumored destination in the past. First-year director of scouting Zack Minasian spent most his career in Milwaukee, so he knows this system well.
The Braves will be the favorite when Bumgarner hits free agency, and they could get an early look at the North Carolina native who sometimes flies home when the team has an off day on the East Coast. Even with Dallas Keuchel in the fold, the Braves should have enough financial room to add Bumgarner, who is on a below-market deal.
The Phillies went all-in this offseason but are looking up at the Braves, and they rank 11th in the NL in starter's ERA. Plus, you know Bumgarner would love hitting in that ballpark.
Rich Get Richer: Astros, Yankees
Yes, Bumgarner would agree to shave his beard if traded to the Yankees, but given that they're on his no-trade list, perhaps that razor would come with a bag of cash. Some close to the pitcher are split on whether he would actually want to be a Yankee, but the main focus seems to be getting another crack at October, and both these teams qualify.
The Astros may be the most intriguing team on Bumgarner's no-trade list. They benefited greatly from an August deal for Justin Verlander two years ago, and adding Bumgarner to Verlander and Gerrit Cole would make Houston a heavy favorite heading into the postseason.
On The Radar: Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals
They all are included here because they -- like every team listed above but the Twins -- are on Bumgarner's no-trade list. So, they're on his radar, and should be on ours.
Wild Cards: Rays, basically the whole AL West
On the surface, the Rays seem an awful fit. They're Team Opener, after all. But Tampa Bay will let a good starter -- Charlie Morton, Blake Snell -- do his normal thing, and they could use a boost as they try to chase down the Yankees and hold off the Red Sox. Farhan Zaidi is new to San Francisco, but these two organizations do have a history of making trades.
Zaidi will eventually make trades with the A's, you can bet on that, but it's hard to see him sending Bumgarner across the bridge as his first major act. The Rangers and Angels are both right there in the Wild Card race, too, and Los Angeles has never shied away from going big to bring in a marquee name.
Falling Off: Padres
Some in the Giants organization once viewed the young Padres as the best fit, but they are threatening to fall out of the race and turn into sellers. The Padres are just two games out of a Wild Card spot, but it's a crowded race and they are said to be opposed to rentals.