Not much has changed regarding Dylan Bundy of late – he’s effectively been shut down for the remainder of the regular season by the Baltimore Orioles. So we know that at the very earliest, the Arizona Fall League is when we could potentially see Bundy again. And personally I would submit that could be a stretch.
The Orioles tend to be very cautious with prospects and with regard to injuries, so I have no reason to believe that the same wont be true in this case with Dylan Bundy. It’s somewhat tragic if you think about it; the guy was the premier pitcher coming out of high school in 2011, and was drafted by the Orioles. He was called a sure-fire big leaguer, made a bit of an abrupt debut in 2012, and from that point forward had injury issues – culminating in Tommy John surgery.
Call to the Pen
Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
But the O’s also have every reason to believe that Bundy will be ready to go come 2016. And that’s very good news…in theory. There’s one problem with Bundy moving into next year, and in a way it echo’s the roster crunch that we’ve seen with the Birds over the course of the past month or so. Basically next season, it’s the Orioles or bust for Dylan Bundy. And I don’t mean bust on his behalf, I mean that from the standpoint of the O’s.
Starting in 2016, Bundy will have enough service time to where the club can’t option and recall him. Remember that aforementioned debut late in 2012? That started the big league clock on Bundy. And I recall that I thought it was a mistake at the time for that reason. The O’s brought Bundy up in response to several long extra inning games that were played in Seattle. They stuck him in the bullpen just as support, and he got into a couple of games over the course of the final two weeks of the season or so. But again, that started his big league clock.
So if Bundy’s not on the major league roster in 2016, the only way that the O’s can send him to the minors is by designating him for assignment. That means he’d have to pass through waivers, and if he does he could be outrighted to a minor league affiliate. However with Bundy’s talent, potential, and with the fact that it would come at no risk to another team, odds are that he wouldn’t make it through waivers. He’d get snatched up by another franchise, leaving the Orioles paying him to play elsewhere.
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So in saying all of this, we already start to see some of the roster crunch that awaits the Orioles in 2016. My personal prediction is that they’re extremely cautious with Bundy in spring training, but that he ultimately starts the season on the DL next year. However that will only work for so long. At some point he’s either going to have to be on the roster, or they’ll have to risk losing him (again, something that undoubtedly would happen).
The good news is that Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette know all of this, so presumably they’re already working on their plan of action. What this means for the starting rotation or the bullpen is unknown, however needless to say it’s going to be a big problem for the Orioles at some point. But then again, they’ve dealt with roster problems masterfully in the past as well as the present; now reason to think they won’t do so again.