BALTIMORE – Right-hander Dylan Bundy, one of the longest-tenured Oriole, was dealt Wednesday to the Los Angeles Angels for four pitching prospects – right-handers Isaac Mattson, Kyle Bradish, Zach Peek and Kyle Brnovich – according to an industry source.
Bundy, a former top prospect who had long worked to live up to his potential, became another outgoing piece of the team’s continued teardown this offseason after infielder Jonathan Villar was traded earlier this week for a rookie-level pitching prospect.
This time, the Orioles got a larger haul for their longest-tenured starting pitcher.
Mattson, 24, is closest to the majors of the four. A 2017 draftee, Mattson jumped from High-A Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake in 2019, striking out 110 with a 1.01 WHIP in 73 1/3 innings and a 2.33 ERA. Bradish, 23, was a fourth-round draft pick out of New Mexico State in 2018 and struck out 120 batters with a 1.42 WHIP and a 4.28 ERA in 24 games (18 starts) for Inland Empire.
Peek, 21, and Brnovich, 22, were each 2019 draft picks, with Peek selected in the sixth round and Brnovich in the eighth, though neither pitched after signing.
While far from the rotation-topping star the Orioles hoped he’d be when they took him fourth overall in the 2011 MLB draft, though before elbow injuries stunted his progress, Bundy was baseball’s top prospect after the 2012 season.
By 2016, Bundy was out of minor-league options and his major-league career began out of the Orioles’ bullpen. By midseason that year, he was in the rotation.
Bundy had a 4.02 ERA that year as the Orioles made their last playoff appearance, and has been a starter for them ever since, pitching on Opening Day in 2018. His first full season in the rotation in 2017 featured the reintroduction of his slider to his arsenal, giving Bundy a swing-and-miss pitch and allowing him to have what has proven to be his best season as a starter – 13-9 with a 4.24 ERA in 28 starts.
He hit the 30-start threshold in 2018 and again in 2019, but took a step back in those seasons. In 2018, Bundy had a 5.45 ERA and allowed a league-high 41 home runs. He cut that number down to 29 this season, and improved some as he worked to alter his pitch mix and work in his secondaries more in lieu of using a hittable fastball.
Because of those changes, there’s still the idea that getting Bundy to take another step with his secondary pitches and further embracing pitching that way could help him improve even more.
The Angels are taking that chance, and will have two seasons before Bundy reaches free agency.
Wednesday’s trade comes two days after the contract tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players Monday, a day when the Orioles signed left-hander Richard Bleier to a contract for 2020, tendered contracts to Trey Mancini, Mychal Givens, Hanser Alberto, Miguel Castro, and Bundy, and traded Villar to the Miami Marlins for minor-league pitcher Easton Lucas.
In trading Villar and now Bundy, the Orioles shed a projected $15 million in payroll for 2020 to two of their arbitration-eligible players who were forecasted to make the most money of any of those seven initial eligible players.
Bundy being dealt leaves a rotation that features All-Star left-hander John Means, a returning Alex Cobb, and Asher Wojciechowski. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said this week that adding rotation depth would be a priority this offseason.
The Athletic first reported Bundy was traded, and ESPN.com first reported the return.