Elias says Bundy trade is the type of move Orioles need to make - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Elias says Bundy trade is the type of move Orioles need to make

For the second time in three days, Orioles general manager Mike Elias made a deal involving one of the Orioles’ front-line players.

After trading infielder Jonathan Villar to the Miami Marlins for 23-year-old left-handed pitcher Easton Lucas on Monday, the Orioles traded starting pitcher Dylan Bundy — the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft — to the Los Angeles Angels for four pitching prospects on Wednesday.

Bundy, 27, was 38-45 with a 4.67 ERA in his Oriole career. In 2019, Bundy was 7-14 with a 4.79 ERA.

In return, the Orioles received four right-handed pitchers: Kyle Bradish, Kyle Brnovich, Isaac Mattson and Zach Peek.

Elias said during a conference call that the trade of Bundy “represents a big step towards our stated goals to accumulate and develop as much young talent as possible as the club rebuilds its roster and gets our talent level back to the level needed for consistent playoff contention.”

He said that the Orioles had been working on the trade with Los Angeles for weeks. Other clubs were in the mix, too, he said.

“We felt that the fit and the package of the players coming back from the Anaheim was the best deal available to us,” Elias said.

Elias, who praised Bundy after the Villar trade on Monday, spoke highly of him again Wednesday.

“He has done a lot for the Orioles,” Elias said. “He has laid it on the line at all times for the Orioles.”


Bundy’s departure leaves another hole in the starting rotation. For now, John Means, who finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, and Alex Cobb, who missed almost all of last season because of hip and knee surgery, are the only established pitchers.

Asher Wojciechowski, who started for the team in the second half of the season, is a strong contender for the third spot.

“We’re thin to begin with, and we’re taking one of the stalwarts out of our rotation just like we did last year with [Andrew] Cashner,” said Elias, who traded Cashner to Boston last July. “To get where we need to go, these are the types of moves and decisions we have to make right now.”

Elias said his goal is to fill those holes with prospects within the organization.

“I think, ultimately, we may see many of those rotation spots inhabited by guys that were already in the organization that were either in Triple-A last year or going to be in Triple-A for the first time this year,” he said.

“I think we’re really having some pitchers starting to knock on the doors of the big leagues.”

Keegan Akin, Michael Baumann, Dean Kremer, Zac Lowther, Alex Wells and Bruce Zimmermann are among those prospects.

“We don’t want to rush them,” Elias said. “We also don’t know if and when they’re going to be ready, so we do plan on supplementing our core of starting pitching candidates from outside the organization, whether it’s major league free agency or minor league free agency.

“I think we’re going to be bringing in competition for the rotation so that we’re not in a situation where we’re having to do something to one of our prospects that’s not best for his development.”

Bradish, 23, was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft. He was 6-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 24 games for High-A Inland Empire in 2019.

Brnovich, 22, was the Angels’ eighth-round pick in this year’s draft. He did not pitch professionally after being drafted out of Elon University.

Mattson, 24, was a 19th-round pick of the Angels in 2017. In 2019, Mattson was 6-3 with a 2.33 ERA in 37 games with Inland Empire, Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake.

Peek, 21, did not pitch professionally this season after being drafted in the sixth round out of Winthrop University.

Unlike the deal that sent Cashner to Boston for the second half of the 2019 season and Villar to Miami, free agency isn’t looming for Bundy. The Angels get a player with two years of club control remaining.

“We’ve all got our eyes on a bigger goal, and in order to get there, we’re going to need to bring as much young talent into the farm system as we possibly can,” Elias said.

“Sometimes you have to give up good quality off your major league roster.”

Elias knows that 2020, which was going to be challenging before making the Villar and Bundy deals, is likely to be even more difficult now.

“To get where we need to go, these are the types of moves, the types of decisions we have to make,” he said. “It’s a tough spot that we’re in. We’ve got a long climb ahead of us.”

Many fans were displeased with the trade of Villar and could be unhappy with this one, too. The Orioles have few accomplished players remaining on their roster.

“I want to see a playoff team at Camden Yards,” Elias said. “There is only one way to get there, given where we’re at, where we’re starting from. We all know the strategy and the process.

“This is not easy. This is not something we want to happen again. But coming into the organization in late 2018 with the roster construction what it was, what the talent base was in the organization, where we were in the standings, this was the only path.”

Elias was asked about possible trades of reliever Mychal Givens and first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini. Givens has two years of club control remaining. Mancini has three.

“We will be careful to see the right return if we move anyone else,” he said. “There is certainly no guarantee that we will be moving anyone else.”

Attendance has plummeted over the last two years with the Orioles selling more than 700,000 fewer tickets  in 2019 than they did in 2017.

“There’s going to be some more difficult decisions on the way,” Elias said. “Some more tough times, but overall the organization is improving and the level of talent in the organization is improving. This will have been worth it, and put our team and our fanbase in a better long-term setting.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Phil770

    December 4, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Very disappointing – four more Lotto tickets. This guy is making it hard to trust the process. We should have been able to get at least one, legitimate prospect.

  2. Birdman

    December 4, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Looks like a pretty sensible move – Bundy seemed stuck in mediocrity (and was a home run machine for the opposition) with the O’s, maybe the proverbial “change of scenery” will help him.

    O’s continue to shed payroll, about $15 million this week (Villar and Bundy), and they may shed more (Bleier, Givens) soon. The key question now is whether ownership will eventually step up and spend some of those savings in a year or two when the team is (hopefully) competitive, or will they simply pocket the savings.

    • Phil770

      December 4, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      Trading him very sensible; I don’t agree with the quality/quantity of prospects. I’d like to see where these players were ranked in the Angels system as well as MLB as a whole. Just believe getting at least one highly regarded prospect would be in order, rather than 4 maybes, could be’s.

  3. Fareastern89

    December 4, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Mattson was an all-star in the Arizona Fall League this season. He qualifies as a legitimate prospect, probably in the bullpen.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 4, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      He also has a sub 3.0 ERA over 3 professional seasons. I would also classify 6th and 8th rounders as prospects too. Obviously no guarantees with any of them though.

  4. Bancells Moustache

    December 4, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    So not only is Stevie Wilkerson going to play short, he will be the number 2 starter as well.

    Man alive, that 29 game season ticket package email keeps looking more hilarious each time it pops up.

    Has anyone checked to see if Lamar Jackson has decent off speed stuff…

  5. oldchief

    December 4, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Do I see a move from Baltimore in the future?

  6. Frank Howard LF-1B

    December 4, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    It was CY 2001 when the Washington Capitals NHL team eliminated all of its high-priced veterans and began an authentic total rebuild. Jagr, Bondra, Lang and many others, all gone within a few weeks. Within six years they had Ovechkin and Backstrom on the roster, and by 2007 they were a playoff team. The 2002-06 Caps (minus one strike year) weren’t nearly as hideous as gloom-and-doomers made it out. They delivered and interesting team and played hard. Found some better coaches in the process. At the 10-year mark the Caps’ had the best record in the league for several seasons and a Championship soon after. It would have happened sooner if not for all sorts of bizarre, unlucky playoff failures.

    It’s relevant here because a real rebuild can work. The Caps’ ownership didn’t “pocket” the money from salary dump. Why would the Orioles’ ownership do that? I don’t find them to be that cynical or foolish. I’m authentically excited to stick with the Orioles through a rebuild cycle. I’ll watch the new baby Orioles grow up. I watched the Baby Caps grow up, and indeed they did grow up. I think Elias &. Co. are following an excellent business model. There is no other way. Rebuilds are fun. Enjoy the ride.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 4, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Well said.

    • Bancells Moustache

      December 4, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      Why would the Orioles ownership, a group of Tort Lawyers who got rich pillaging mesothelioma money, pocket the money?!

      Also, the Caps rebuild from 2001 which netted them a Stanley Cup A DECADE AND A HALF later isn’t a very good example considering there are Oriole fans who’ve never seen a World Series who will become Grandfathers before they are relevant again.

  7. geevee3

    December 4, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I’m hyped! I know none of these pitchers are guaranteed locks (like Gausman and Bundy were) to be Cy Young candidates, but we got four bright futures to look forward to. Just curious, what was the Welters overall pick compared to Mike Piazza?

  8. BirdsCaps

    December 4, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Am I the only one who would have waited until the deadline to trade bundy? If he would have got hot before the deadline (which he theoretically could have) we could have gotten at least a top 30 prospect or two, if not a top 10. The deal seems rushed and I hope it wasn’t just to save money.

    • Phil770

      December 4, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      I agree with you that this return for two draft picks who have not played yet and two other pitchers with limited success in the minors. Boog’s right, this guy seems determined to not put a Major League team on the field.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 4, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      That only works if Bundy has a successful first half of the season. He stinks it up and nobody wants him.

  9. Bhoffman1

    December 4, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Look Bundy was destroyed before he ever put on a Oriole uniform too much high school pitching at 98 per hour on his arm . Tommy John saved his career but you can’t win with a fastball that’s not fast enough or moves enough in this game anymore. Having said that he probably make the all star team next year for the Angels

  10. Eastern Sho Joe

    December 4, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    How dare Elias trade a pitcher who just finished a season 7W-14L , had an ERA of 4.79, maxes out at 92-93mph, allowed the most homeruns In the MLB… AND… was projected to receive a salary increase from $2.8m to $5.7m!!!

    How dare he!

    Seriously, I would think everyone would be delighted what we got for Bundy and not have to give him a raise.

  11. TxBirdFan

    December 4, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Baltimore used to be a good baseball town but Elias has destroyed it. Losing 700k fans equates to $40-50M in revenue, and we’ve yet to hit rock bottom. I’ve been a faithful fan since the mid-60’s but this is the worst hatchet job I’ve ever seen. It makes my stomach turn.

    • NormOs

      December 5, 2019 at 10:03 am

      Without the “tear down”, Elias would be out of work. So far his “rebuild” is worth CRAP. And Trey and Mychal can pack their bags, they’re next, which will conclude all the MLB players the O’s have.

  12. OriolesNumber1Fan

    December 4, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I hated to see Bundy go but like Elias said, he never wants this to happen again with doing this tear down and I believe him. If Bundy had lived up to what was his projection and I’m not blaming him for TJ surgery, then maybe the Orioles could have gotten someone more like a top 5 rated prospect. It just seems like the Orioles are somewhat snake bitten recently. When ownership invested in some higher rated free agents and some of their own players they didn’t live up to their contracts. Chris Davis, Alex Cobb. Nick Markakis contract extension, Brian Roberts contract extension. Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Matt Wieters were decent players but never really lived up to the hype. Hopefully, like Elias says, not rushing the kids of tomorrow maybe like Bundy, Gausman and Wieters were or maybe it was there lack of true development, either way maybe they can get it right this time. Hey, maybe Gausman will return on a minor league or maybe a low $$$ major league contract. He felt pretty bad when DD traded him. 6 plus era could be worth a flyer for Bundy’s spot in the rotation.

  13. Bhoffman1

    December 4, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Bring back Gausman what do we have to lose. I always liked his stuff better then Bundy. He does need a head doctor though

    • OsfaninNC

      December 5, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      I don’t get the yammering to bring back Gausman. He wasn’t good here and except for a few games hasn’t been good since he left. Let that sleeping dog lie

  14. Dunnsky89

    December 4, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    The uneducated comments on this post make me laugh. In order to rebuild, you have to suck for several years while loading up the farm system with talent. Why is that so hard for everyone to understand? Mike Elias is a genius.


      December 5, 2019 at 8:48 am

      Kiss that tushie!!!

  15. Phil770

    December 4, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Like the prospects he’s traded for, time will tell. He is not a genius yet, except to you educated fans.

  16. BGrich2B

    December 4, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Baseball is entertainment. If the production is good, people will come out to see it. This product is not looking good. Maybe Mike should ask for magic beans in his next move to build up Delmarva, or Fredrick. Looking like a third year of 100+ losses. Could this team challenge the 1962 Mets as the worst team ever? I am wondering if attendance will fall below one million in 2020? Villar played in every game, and Bundy wanted the ball. Looks like an exciting year of Rule 5 pickups.

  17. Orioles fan 4weaver

    December 4, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Bundy’s best days were behind him. His fast ball really lost velocity post surgery. This is a complete strip down to the core. Which has been rarely seen to this magnitude. I will be patient but what worthy free agent would to sign with a team that has very little established talent on the roster? This team could start the season with the least MLB experience overall in the entire league! I guess we will be scouting the waiver wire and rule 5 prospects to fill some spots.

  18. woody

    December 5, 2019 at 3:26 am

    Sad to see him go, I always enjoyed watching his starts. He might not ever achieve his potential, but I think at least he’s got a chance in LA, and I’m pretty confident he wouldn’t have with the Orioles, so I wish him well.

  19. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 5, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Unlike the Villar trade, I have no problem with this one. In my eye, the difference between the 2 trades was the 1st was simply to save Peter Angelos a large paycheck with no real return in talent. The Bundy trade really doesn’t seem to be about money, but more about a return in talent in terms of quantity if not top shelf quality.

  20. NormOs

    December 5, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Between “Dumpster Dan” and “Tear Down Mike” the O’s have traded 10/12 major leaguers and got back 40/50 people. How many of the 40/50 will make it to the majors and stay and will the ones that stay equal the ones that left. Start with Manny and work down. “WHEN DOES THE REBUILD START?”

  21. CalsPals

    December 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

    “We will be careful to see the right return if we move anyone else,” he said, so the returns so far haven’t been right or careful…hmmmm…….go O’s….

  22. tman

    December 5, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Another terrible trade by Mike. Third best pitcher on the team for four lottery tickets. The Angels fleeced the O’s. The fans deserve a major league roster. Looking more like a minor league team with every trade. Does Mike really think making the team worse is what is best for the fans and the team. What is the owner smoking with this team building venture.

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