ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels acquired right-hander Dylan Bundy from the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday in a trade for four minor league pitchers.
The 27-year-old Bundy has been a durable starter with a nasty slider for the past four seasons with the Orioles, who chose him with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft. The Angels got him for four prospects, none ranked among their top 20 by most estimates.
Baltimore general manager Mike Elias said his latest trade "represents a big step toward our stated goals to accumulate and develop as much young talent as possible."
"It's a bittersweet thing, parting with Dylan," Elias added. "He has done a lot for the Orioles. He has laid it on the line at all times for the Orioles and always taken the ball, and this dates well back beyond my short time here. We're going to miss him, and we have a hole in our rotation to fill."
Bundy's durability and consistency are extremely enticing to the Angels, whose starters last season had the majors' second-worst ERA amid a mind-boggling string of injuries. Angels general manager Billy Eppler also weighed the importance of Bundy being under club control for two more seasons before free agency.
“You give up players that you just recently drafted, and that can go a number of directions,” said Eppler, who has thoroughly rebuilt the Angels' farm system in the past four years. “Every deal hurts, and this one is no different.”
Bundy has won 38 games in the last four seasons, including 13 wins in 2017 during his first full season as a big-league starter. Bundy went 15-30 with a 5.13 ERA and 70 home runs allowed during the Orioles' past two miserable seasons, but he has started at least 28 games in three straight years while averaging 168 innings in Baltimore's rotation.
Nineteen pitchers started a game for the Angels last season, but only one man pitched more than 100 innings for Los Angeles — and that was Trevor Cahill, who was banished to the bullpen for mediocre performances as a starter.
Elias said the Angels outbid several suitors in recent weeks for Bundy, who will obviously will be a key rotation member in Anaheim if he can maintain his career standards — or even improve them under new Angels manager Joe Maddon. The Angels' new pitching coach, Mickey Callaway, has a long record of success with starters.
Starting pitching is the prime focus of off-season improvement for the Angels, who expect to compete for the services of Orange County native Gerrit Cole and other elite free agents.
Bundy is due for a significant raise in arbitration after making $2.8 million last year, but Angels owner Arte Moreno has said he is ready to increase his payroll.
In its latest dump of veteran major league talent for inexpensive prospects, Baltimore acquired four right-handers from the Angels' system: Isaac Mattson, Zach Peek, Kyle Bradish and Kyle Brnovich.
The move came two days after the Orioles traded infielder Jonathan Villar to Miami for minor league pitcher Easton Lucas. Villar is likely to earn about $10 million next year, but Elias' focus is firmly on the Orioles' long-term future, even if it leads to even more empty seats at Camden Yards next summer.
"I hope that's not the case," Elias said. “But with the goal of trying to get back to the playoffs, we've got a laser focus on that, and we're going to do what we feel is necessary to get this team to a point where we can fill the stadium on a consistent basis. It's going to take some work. We've got our sleeves rolled up. There's going to be some more difficult decisions on the way, some more tough times. But overall, the organization is improving in the level of talent up and down.
"I think that this will have been worth it, and it will put our team and our fan base in a better long-term setting.”