Dylan Bundy must sink or swim with the Baltimore Orioles


You might recall that Dylan Bundy came to the major leagues for the first time in September of 2012. The Baltimore Orioles were in the race for the post season, and Bundy was called up as an extra bullpen hand following a couple of marathon games in Seattle. At the time I remember writing on this very column that I was shocked that the O’s would start the clock on a guy with Bundy’s potential in that manner, however I also recognized that when you’re in a pennant race it’s all hands on deck. (Bundy actually did play a role in the latter part of September in the bullpen, helping the Birds to reach the postseason for the first time in 14 years.)

However now the O’s find themselves in a bit of a dilema with Bundy given the fact that as a result of that call-up, he won’t have options after 2015. That means that next season he’ll have to be on the big league roster, otherwise pass through waivers in order for the Orioles to option him to the minors. And someone with Bundy’s potential isn’t going to be on waivers for long before he’s picked up by another club. At that point, suddenly the O’s are paying Bundy to pitch elsewhere – and you can bet that another AL East team would love to have his services.

Mar 9, 2012; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Ba Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

So 2015 is a big year for Dylan Bundy and the O’s. My prediction is that he starts the year off in the minors (either Norfolk or Bowie), and at some point is summoned to Baltimore to work primarily out of the bullpen. The other option might be that he pushes a starter to the bullpen at or near the trading deadline, so as to act as a deadline deal of sorts for the Orioles. (Basically it would serve the same purpose as trading for a pitcher at the deadline, however the O’s wouldn’t be giving anything up.)

That’s why the fortunes and futures of both Bundy and Ubaldo Jimenez might well be intertwined. Jimenez is going to be potentially the most watched pitcher during and following spring training. If he struggles, the O’s are going to have to find a spot for him in the bullpen since they can’t afford to outright him. However keep in mind that Jimenez was strong in the final month of the regular season last year, as well as out of the bullpen as a long man. So if necessary, Bundy could take his turn in the rotation and Jimenez could head to the pen.

Time will tell, but ultimately I don’t see Bundy breaking camp with the team. A lot of guys would either have to struggle mightily or get hurt. You never say never, but I think that a lot of chips would have to fall the wrong way for Dylan Bundy to be in Baltimore (or Tampa, that is) on Opening Day.