According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Baltimore Orioles are open to trading RHP Dylan Bundy.
No one on the current Baltimore Orioles roster is untouchable, we all know this. While Orioles general manager Mike Elias has come out on numerous occasions and stated that he plans to make a few “tough” decisions fueled by a desire to cut payroll, O’s fans aren’t going to be checking their phones and seeing any blockbuster trade alerts anytime soon.
The New York Yankees wanted Mychal Givens at least year’s deadline and are likely to be interested again this winter. One New York writer even believes a package deal for Givens and Jonathan Villar would make a lot of sense for the Yankees. Whether it’s New York or not, one or both of these players are very likely to be moved in the next few weeks.
The rumor mill has been pretty quiet around Baltimore since the end of the World Series, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal casually mentioned on Friday (you can read the full piece here with a subscription) that the Baltimore Orioles are open to trading starting pitcher Dylan Bundy.
The note comes at the end of Rosenthal’s comparison between Bundy and Houston Astros starter Zack Greinke. He notes that despite having a similar set of pitches and similar spin rates, Greinke is really good and Bundy is…not. Obviously.
Rosenthal notes Bundy’s lack of command as one of the bigger differentiating factors between the two and ponders whether or not Bundy would turn things around while pitching for a winning ballclub in a pitcher-friendly park.
With an estimated rise in salary to approximately $6 million through arbitration, I see why the Orioles would be interested in trading him away. However, is the potential return going to be worth it?
Rich Dubroff of BaltimoreBaseball.com believes that Bundy will net an “attractive” return in a “robust” market for the former first-round pick, but unless we have different definitions for “attractive” and “robust”, I’d have to disagree with Rich.
If Bundy is moved, the return will certainly be more impressive than what we saw in the trade of Andrew Cashner to Boston. Cashner was 33, pitching on an expired contract, and may have been having a career year, but had no track record of sustained success in the major leagues. The Orioles received something, which is better than nothing by allowing to just walk away after the season.
Bundy’s situation is much different and there are a number of factors at play that make him a potential trade target for a few different franchises.
Now 27, Bundy has two years of control before hitting free agency and will come at a small price tag for a contending team looking for a four/five starter to round out their rotation.
Logging 160+ innings for a third-straight season, Bundy was worth 2.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to Fangraphs, just behind his career-high 2.8 fWAR 2017 season.
Last season was a much-improved campaign for Bundy, who mixed in significantly more curveballs and changeups, relying less on his high-spin but non-effective fastball (..335 average and .645 slugging percentage against the pitch in 2019).
Despite seeing a slight increase in walks per game, Bundy maintained a strikeout rate of around nine hitters per game, his groundball rate jumped from 34% to 41.5%, opponents hit .253 against him (19 points lower than 2019), and hitters made barrel contact against him 5.9% of the time. That’s just below league average (6.3%) and the lowest mark of Bundy’s career.
The most notable number Bundy produced last season was 1.61. That’s the number of home runs he allowed every nine innings. While that’s far from a number you want your starting pitcher to own, it was a significant improvement from his 2.15 HR/IP back in 2018 when he led the major leagues with 41 home runs allowed in 31 starts.
Currently part of a rotation that consists of John Means, Alex Cobb, and Asher Wojciechowski, trading away Bundy would be quite the hit. The Orioles already struggle to make it through nine innings with their current pitching staff, taking away Bundy and replacing him with additional waiver claims and reclamation projects would be quite an adventure.
However, the long-term benefits of trading Bundy for a respectable package outweigh the immediate negatives. The question is, who would trade for him?
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I’ve been pushing the San Diego Padres as a potential landing spot since last offseason. The Padres need to move prospect pieces and could package multiple prospects outside of their Top 30 for Bundy, while also improving the Orioles farm system.
The Chicago White Sox are clearly ready to pounce on the American League Central next season after entering the free agent market with a bang and signing catcher Yasmani Grandal.
I’m going off pure gut emotion with this one, but would the New York Mets think about making a move for Bundy? Turns out Joe DeMayo of SNYtv likes the idea of New York trading for Bundy, per this tweet.
It’s certainly a talking point during the Thanksgiving lull before December 2nd non-tender deadline.