Before Monday’s game against the White Sox, I asked Orioles manager Buck Showalter flat out, “So when are you calling up Dylan Bundy?”
Unsurprisingly, there was no direct answer.
Showalter is definitely being coy on the topic, but based on the conversation that ensued after my kamikaze question, I’m going to go out on a limb and say we will see Bundy in an O’s uniform by season’s end. What his role will be is the mystery.
In complete Showalter fashion, instead of an answer to my question, he began with a story. His story was that of a young Mariano Rivera who Showalter put on the 25-man roster for the 1995 playoffs while managing the Yankees. According to Showalter, everyone thought he was crazy for bringing the the young reliever up. We all know the rest of that story. Eighteen seasons later, Rivera is a future Hall of Famer and Showalter’s only regret is that he didn’t use him as a closer in the postseason.
Now before we put Bundy on the O’s hypothetical postseason roster and into the Hall of Fame, Showlater’s point was that he’s not afraid to bring up a young pitcher if he thinks he’ll help the team.
With the recent trade for left-hander Joe Saunders and the imminent return of right-hander Jason Hammel, the O’s will have a logjam of starters. Showalter could bring Bundy up just to get his feet wet and use him out of the ‘pen. When asked if he believes in promoting a player just to get him acclimated to the big league experience, Showalter went into another story in lieu of an answer.
He spoke again about those mid 90’s Yankees teams and the decision to keep Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte around in the postseason their first year to travel with the team and soak in the environment. We all know how that story ends as well. Everything turned out just fine for those three.
So here’s what I took away from story time with Showalter. He believes in introducing players to the big leagues late in the season and postseason, and he’ll do it regardless of outside influences. Based on that, I would not be surprised if Bundy is called up Friday. That’s the deadline for him to be playoff-eligible. If he isn’t called up on Aug. 31, he still could be placed on the big league roster for the playoffs if someone heads to the disabled list.
I personally am not a believer that a short stint in the big leagues can ruin a young pitcher if they’re not ready. I love the saying, “You can’t ruin the good ones.” There’s every reason to believe Bundy is a good one. I say bring him up if scouts believe he can handle it.