SAN DIEGO - In walking through the lobby of the Grand Hyatt as the 2019 MLB Winter Meetings kick off, there's a buzz. Of course, there's always buzz at the annual gathering, but the buzz is greater this time around regarding hot shot free agents Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg. There's a reason it's greater: Those three players are all Scott Boras clients. And while Boras' top guys usually don't sign until January or later, he said this to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ

"If the Winter Meetings were given a movie title ... 2018 Winter Meetings: "Slow Burn" ... 2019 Winter Meetings: "Fast and Furious"  

Sure enough, Strasburg has already agreed to a seven-year, $245 million deal

With the focus on Rendon, Cole and Strasburg, there's a bit less buzz about free-agent lefty Madison Bumgarner, who has a more complicated free agency than some of the other big names on the market. Opinions are divided as to what Bumgarner is going to be moving forward. 

There was a report Monday that Bumgarner's seeking a five-year deal worth $100 million. That deal would be "insane" one former executive said. 

"Trying to ride the coattails of Cole," the former exec said. "Hoping losing teams are desperate." 

Not everyone is so down on Bumgarner, though. 

"Twenty million a year is fine for what Bumgarner is now," said a member of a front office. 

Fangraphs valued Bumgarner as being worth $25.5 million last season. If he has a few more seasons at that level, the surplus could even out the shortfall in the last few years when he's almost certainly in decline. 

On the good side, Bumgarner has the track record of a workhorse. He's topped 200 innings in seven of his nine full big-league seasons and the two years he fell short were due to freak accidents. He responded by tying for the league lead with 34 starts last year and finished just 1 1/3 innings off the league lead. 

We all know about the postseason resume. He's one of the greatest playoff pitchers ever, going 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 87 strikeouts against 16 unintentional walks in 102 1/3 innings. Three of his 14 starts were shutouts, including both Wild Card Game outings. 

The four-time All-Star finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting twice and has received votes in five different seasons. 

That stuff is in the past, though. His numbers have declined in recent years. From 2013-16, he had a combined 2.86 ERA, never hitting 3.00 or higher. The next three seasons went 3.32, 3.26, 3.90. The four prime years, he struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings. These last three years it's down to 8.3. 

On the flip side to that, his strikeout rate came back up to 8.8 in 2019 from 7.6 in 2018, when he was returning from injury. Also, though it's likely to decline at some point, his velocity hasn't yet faded and his pitch selection has remained pretty well intact. He hasn't yet had to alter his approach because he hasn't hit a steep decline yet. That seems an important note in his favor, because we've seen top-flight pitchers do well into their mid-30s by making adjustments. 

"With that tough arm slot and being the kind of pitcher he is, it just feels like he'll be able to make adjustments and remain a quality pitcher into his mid-30s," said one scout. 

Do teams really want to hand out five years and $100 million based upon a gut feeling, though? Surely not. 

Of further concern for interested teams should be Bumgarner's splits last season. Remember, his home has been Oracle Park (formerly AT&T). It's one of the more pitcher-friendly yards in baseball. It was dead last in runs and home runs last year. The league slash in Oracle Park last season was .239/.299/.379 while the league average everywhere was .252/.323/.435. Here's Bumgarner last season, split in two. 

Home: 6-2, 2.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 120 K, 122 2/3 IP
Road: 3-7, 5.29 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 83 K, 85 IP

His career split isn't nearly as extreme (2.72 ERA at home vs. 3.53 away), so it could be a fluke or it could be that as his skills start to deteriorate, he was more reliant on the cushy home ballpark. 

Then again, what if there was an effect similar to what happens with hitters who play for the Rockies? Sure, Coors Field is easily the best hitters park in baseball, but every single year, the Rockies are one of the worst hitting teams in baseball on the road. Then you see someone like D.J. LeMahieu leave and thrive elsewhere and realize as much as Coors was helping him at home, it was also probably hurting him on the road. What if that rings similar for Bumgarner? He goes to an average ballpark and now all of a sudden he's able to pitch better on the road? t's possible. 

There just isn't a way of knowing. 

"I don't think he's washed up, but he's not the pitcher he was and some of that is because of age," said a front office member, accompanying his reply to me with a "shrug" emoji as to how much Bumgarner has left in the tank. "That's the million dollar question." 

It could be a $100 million question. That's what Bumgarner's camp is hoping. Those outside just aren't sure. 

Gerrit Cole seems like a sure thing. Stephen Strasburg seems like a sure thing, so long as he can stay on the mound. 

Madison Bumgarner? Shrug. That, more than anything, is the buzz surrounding the large lefty in his free agency.