The San Diego Padres need pitching and the Baltimore Orioles need an upgrade at nearly every position. Is there a deal worth pursuing here?
Earlier this week, we looked at three free agent starting pitchers the San Diego Padres should take a look at when free agency begins in just a few days. Outside of Patrick Corbin, there really aren’t many names worth throwing big money at for a team that is at least two years away from seriously competing. If AJ Preller wants to upgrade his rotation, he will need to pick up the phone and make a deal to bring in a front-line starter.
The free agent market isn’t completely void and each of the names we mentioned yesterday could be good fits but many of the top names available will be 30 or older when Opening Day 2019 rolls around. The Padres need to look younger, someone who can lead this staff for the next two-three years and then slot in behind a few of the elite pitching prospects currently in the minor leagues, hopefully creating a formidable starting rotation (pending development of these prospects).
This is strictly thinking out loud here and there have been no substantiated discussions of this happening, but what if the San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles could work out a deal involving starting pitcher Dylan Bundy?
I know, he was terrible last season at Camden Yards but the organization is a dumpster fire with no general manager, no manager, the worst contract in baseball history, a minor league system void of any elite prospects (outside of maybe LHP DL Hall), and they recently lost out on all three of their international free agent targets (Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa, and Sandy Gaston).
The good and bad of Dylan Bundy.
Baltimore traded away Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado, and others to begin the rebuilding process. Trey Mancini figures to be a piece they can start to build around, leaving Dylan Bundy as one of the final trade pieces the organization has.
Bundy turns 26 next month and just completed his third season in the major leagues. Overall, it was his worst professional season, finishing 8-16 with a 5.45 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 41 home runs allowed. That number is horrifying, but don’t run away yet!
Bundy suffered an ankle injury that put him on the disabled list and a groin injury, earlier in the year. Neither injury was deemed as very serious, however, his numbers around the times of those injuries were horrid, obviously seriously affecting him. He was also subjected to two of the most historic offenses in MLB history in extremely hitter-friendly ballparks.
So, what positives can we point to with Bundy? He posted a career-high strikeout rate of nearly 10 hitters per nine innings (25%), his slider is one of the best in baseball, and he allowed the lowest contact rates of his career (both inside and outside of the zone).
While opponents hit .304 against his fastball, he held hitters to a .178 average with the slider, which also produced 118 strikeouts and a 50% whiff rate.
Assuming it was largely the injuries hampering Bundy’s personal success (not to mention playing
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for a 116-loss team), his velocity numbers and location can be easily corrected. Typically someone who can command the corners, Bundy often left pitches over the heart of the plate and saw his fastball velocity drop slightly, from 92.1 to 91.6.
There’s also no denying that the Orioles are notorious for being really bad at developing pitchers and using their strengths at the major league level. Look at the instant success Kevin Gausman experienced in Atlanta or Jake Arrieta or Pedro Strop. Maybe all Dylan Bundy need is a competent pitching coach?
It is hard to say what the Orioles would want, considering they don’t have a GM or field manager at the moment. However, the future of catcher Chance Sisco seems highly uncertain and the organization has zero major league quality middle infield prospects. The Padres have plenty of middle infield/catching prospects that could be packaged here for Bundy.
There could be something here. The price shouldn’t be too high and the possibility of Bundy turning things around is highly favorable.