Angels acquire RHP Dylan Bundy from O's

December 5th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- The Angels made their first offseason addition to their starting rotation on Wednesday, acquiring right-hander from the Orioles for Minor League right-handers Isaac Mattson, Zach Peek, Kyle Bradish and Kyle Brnovich.

Bundy, 27, gives the Angels much-needed durability, as he's made at least 28 starts in each of the last three seasons, including 31 in '18 and 30 in '19. Bundy posted a 4.79 ERA with 162 strikeouts, 58 walks and 29 homers allowed in 161 2/3 innings this past season. Bundy, who made $2.8 million in his second year of arbitration last season, is also under team control through 2021.

“One of the things we talked about with our players is being available and productive,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “In Dylan’s case, he’s shown a good amount of durability the last few years. He’s averaged around the 168-inning mark, which is important for us. He’s developed a good amount of feel in the eyes of our evaluators. We were glad to get this accomplished before we head into the Winter Meetings.”

Bundy has a career 4.67 ERA in five seasons with Baltimore and has struck out 602 batters in 614 1/3 innings. But the 6-foot-1 right-hander has struggled with homers, allowing 114 in his career, including an American League-high 41 in 2018. The Angels are hopeful that a move from homer-friendly Camden Yards to Angel Stadium can help Bundy, as well as getting out of the always competitive AL East.

“I would say in Dylan’s case he’s pitching in a ballpark that’s pretty hitter-friendly and against some notable lineups regularly,” Eppler said. “There could be just from an environmental perspective that could lend to increased optimism. By and large, this is a guy that can miss bats and has showed an improved ability to keep the ball on the ground and throw strikes.”

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 Draft, Bundy isn't a hard thrower, as his fastball averaged 91.2 mph last season. His slider is his best offspeed pitch, holding hitters to a .152 average and accounting for about 43 percent of his strikeouts in ’19. But he also throws his changeup plenty, along with an occasional curveball. His fastball has a near-elite spin rate, per Statcast, but his curveball has below-average spin.

Eppler previously said that he’d like to acquire at least two starting pitchers this offseason, and the Halos still remain highly interested in right-hander Gerrit Cole, who is the top starter available in free agency and is likely to command a record-setting deal. The Angels and Cole have reportedly already had a meeting, while the righty has also reportedly met with the Dodgers and Yankees.

Eppler didn’t confirm what free agents he’s met with but seemed pleased with the way things have been progressing this offseason.

“I’m glad there has been a lot of activity and conversations recently with pitchers out in the marketplace,” Eppler said. “Every starter, or at least a large portion of them in the market, we’ve talked to.”

Two notable free agent starting pitchers came off the market on Wednesday, as right-hander Zack Wheeler agreed to a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies and lefty Cole Hamels agreed to a one-year deal worth $18 million with the Braves. The Angels had interest in Wheeler, while Hamels has ties to new Halos manager Joe Maddon from their time together with the Cubs.

The Angels could still look to acquire two more starters, even after trading for Bundy, as they’re likely to utilize a six-man rotation throughout most of next season with two-way player Shohei Ohtani expected to start once a week. Veteran left-hander Andrew Heaney was tendered a contract on Monday, while the club returns other starters such as Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval, Félix Peña, Dillon Peters, Jaime Barria and Jose Suarez. Of that group, Canning and Sandoval both showed promise as rookies, while Peña could be moved to the bullpen.

Eppler, though, wouldn’t say if he’s looking to add one or two starters to that group.

"I’m just going to say we're in the market for pitching,” Eppler said. “I’m not going to put a number on that.”

Of the four Minor Leaguers traded by the Angels, Bradish was the lone one ranked among the club's top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline. Bradish, who was ranked No. 21, posted a 4.28 ERA in 101 innings at Class A Advanced Inland Empire last season.

Mattson is a reliever who pitched in the Arizona Fall League this year, while Peek and Brnovich have yet to make their professional debuts after being selected in the 2019 Draft. Peek was a sixth-rounder, while Brnovich was selected in the eighth round.