Those expectations that he would be a No. 1 starter, and maybe a dominant No. 1, were not realized. Tommy John surgery and shoulder issues took care of that.
Bundy has been solid at times for the club and he’s led the team the last two years in starts, innings and strikeouts. He’s surely a gamer with a four-pitch mix and very unflappable on the mound. If you want him to show much emotion, you’ll be disappointed.
But what emotions will fans have if he’s traded?
The Orioles parted with a couple of their first-round picks in the July 2018 deals as Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman were traded. Is Bundy up next?
On Wednesday an MLB Network report said a trade of Bundy “appears to be close.” Will it happen by Monday night’s deadline for clubs to tender players contracts for the 2020 season? Bundy is arbitration-eligible, and an MLBTradeRumors.com projection put his 2020 number at $5.7 million, up from $2.8 million from last season.
What will fan emotions be about a trade of Bundy, which would likely be for future talent at the expense of a current member of the rotation?
Bundy provides some value to a contender with his durability of recent seasons. He’s probably seen as a back-end-of-rotation pitcher who is capable of more. His salary is reasonable for most contending teams. He is under team control for two years. All good in the trade department.
And while he went 7-14 with a 4.79 ERA last year, he had a strong finish. Bundy posted a 3.99 ERA in 10 starts in August and September. He also reduced his homer rate to 0.92 per nine innings (it was 1.6 for the year), allowing just six in 58 2/3 innings. In 13 starts after the All-Star break, Bundy surrendered nine home runs for a 1.15 HR/9.
A team could look at that and surmise that Bundy became more and more comfortable with throwing fewer fastballs as the year went on. They could have some level of confidence in his performance for the next two years.
He threw 50 percent fastballs in 2019, down from 54 percent in 2017 and 56 percent in 2018.
After what turned out to be his last 2019 start on Sept. 24 at Toronto, manager Brandon Hyde sized up Bundy’s season.
“I thought (he got) a lot better after his initial starts,” Hyde said. “He had some rough starts early and changed his pitch mix a little bit. Has gotten stronger as the year has gone on. He had kind of a tough time early in that fifth-, sixth-inning range. I just feel like he’s improved over the course of the year.
“He’s been really valuable for us in a lot of ways. We are lacking experience throughout our roster, and he’s been here for a for years now. He can help guys in certain ways, kind of get through this last month, especially. Dylan has been rock steady for us. I hope he takes what he improved on this year into next year.”