As members of a Baltimore team that isn’t teeming with trade chips, right-handers Dylan Bundy and Andrew Cashner stand out as players who could end up on the move by the July 31 deadline. However, general manager Mike Elias said Wednesday it would be challenging for the Orioles to trade either hurler because of the team’s lack of major league-ready starting depth, as Dan Connolly of The Athletic was among those to cover.
Even if Elias does wind up dealing from the Bundy-Cashner tandem, neither would warrant a return capable of providing a noticeable boost to the Orioles’ farm system. The 26-year-old Bundy’s the more desirable of the two, though, considering his age, cheap 2019 salary ($2.8MM) and two remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility. The former star prospect hasn’t developed into the ace Baltimore’s prior regime wanted when it drafted him fourth overall in 2011, however, having instead settled in as a back-end starter to this point.
Bundy owns a 4.76 ERA/4.88 FIP with a paltry 34.3 percent groundball rate in 88 career starts and 493 1/3 innings. Those mediocre numbers have come in spite of a quality strikeout/walk ratio, as Bundy has fanned about nine batters per nine and walked a bit fewer than three. Bundy’s K/9 has climbed closer to 10 since 2018, yet his velocity has tumbled into the 91 mph range – down from 92-94 from 2016-17 – and home runs have plagued him. Dating back to last year, Bundy has surrendered HRs on 17.3 percent of fly balls. Only three other qualified starters have struggled worse in that department.
Homers haven’t troubled Cashner to any major degree this year, on the other hand. In fact, the 32-year-old is having somewhat of a bounce-back season as he concludes the guaranteed portion of a two-year, $16MM pact. After logging an unsightly 5.29 ERA/5.32 in 153 1/3 frames last year, Cashner has recorded a playable 4.37 ERA/4.62 FIP with 6.12 K/9, 3.06 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent grounder rate in 82 1/3 frames this season. Cashner has also seen his average velocity increase from 92.4 mph to 93.7 since 2018. That said, it has been a bit of an odd season for Cashner in that right-handed hitters – not lefties – have done almost all of the damage against him. He has yielded far more runs the first time through the opponents’ order than the second.
Looking to 2020, Cashner has a $10MM option that will become guaranteed if he throws a combined 340 innings from 2018-19. He’ll come up well short of that mark, so the option’s not a concern to the Orioles or other teams. But Cashner did tell Connolly back in May that he’d at least consider not reporting to a new club if the O’s traded him. That may go down as a moot point, depending on whether Elias is willing to trade Cashner or if teams would even pursue a deal for the well-traveled hurler.