Entering play today, the Angels stand at 9-20, one of the worst records in the sport and narrowly trailing the Pittsburgh Pirates for that inglorious standing. Not responsible for that abysmal record is starter Dylan Bundy, who has emerged as one of the league’s best through a month of play.
Wrote our very own Brent Maguire a little over two weeks ago: “Expecting Bundy to post a 2.08 ERA and strike out 12 batters for every walk is not feasible. Nobody’s true talent level is that good…but what’s encouraging is Bundy has improved basically across the board. He’s altered his pitch usage to an optimal level for success. He’s created an obvious, applicable game plan against both right-handed hitters (slider-heavy) and left-handed hitters (more change-ups and curveballs). His command has significantly improved, evidenced by hitters watching way more strikes in the zone and chasing more balls out of the zone. This is all very encouraging.”
Through six starts, Bundy can be found on starting pitching leaderboards in fWAR (T-9) with 44 strikeouts (6th) and the 3rd-most innings pitched (38.1). Bundy, known for his durability, has improved himself drastically and broken out in a big way.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Angels are very much open to trading pieces and have “already received numerous inquiries” on Bundy. This news comes on the heels of David Fletcher reportedly being the subject of trade discussions, though the price tag for him is “extraordinarily high”.
Bundy earns $5 million this season and is eligible for arbitration next year, his last year under team control hitting free agency. He was acquired for four minor league pitching prospects, a palatable price for two seasons of even a durable back-end rotation arm, much less a legitimate guy.
It’ll be interesting to see what Bundy’s market looks like, considering that the pandemic will induce front offices to be more risk-averse and Bundy’s price tag is quite affordable for the production he offers. And so the Angels’ dilemma looms: keep Bundy for the 2021 rotation or sell high during turbulent market conditions?
Trade Bundy and Adell to the Indians for Clevinger & Plesac.
Trade Canning, soon. While he still has a little sparkle. Young, controllable, etc. He is built like an 11-year old, his arm will never be able to hold up. We’ve seen physical limitations already. Besides, seen too many bombs coming off his off speed pitches. Not sure of the splits, but don’t like to see this guys pitch in the daytime.
Trade Bundy and Upton’s salary for a bag of balls and get on with it.
Only trade Bundy if it is a very good offer. Otherwise extend him. The worst option is to keep him for one year and let him walk.
Whoever is the GM this offseason needs to get as many GOOD starting pitchers as possible. Keeping Bundy helps a ton.
At the surface level, you can see the merit in trading a top-10 pitcher (so far) who has an extra year of club control. A bad team swapping out short-term value for long-term value obviously makes sense.
But I don’t exactly see the rationale behind trading Bundy. You want to trade the most reliable starting pitcher in years, a guy who is young, breaking out in a big way, and could be available for an extension? In the hope that a starting pitching prospect pans out to be as good as Bundy is now? Given the Angels rotation issues, I don’t love the idea of moving someone like Bundy. In fact, I’m on board with extending him for 3-4 years to buy out a free agent year or two. If a team completely wows you with an offer, sure, you explore that option. The Angels should be open to listening on offers. But don’t move him simply because the Angels are bad this year and need prospects.
2020 is looking like a lost season but if the team plans to compete in 2021, I’d imagine that Bundy is a big part of that. Trout and Rendon aren’t going to produce at elite levels forever. Keep/trade Bundy, trade other guys who are FAs after this year (La Stella, Castro, Simmons, etc), and try to make this damn thing work next year.
crikey, I just lost an epic post about this. Short version: I don’t trust Eppler’s player evaluations, no back up (scouting department) to help him. Keep Bundy, who we now know is a useful piece.
Also other GMs can read Upton’s stats, Ohtani’s too. Trading either isn’t going to bring back anything that will help us, not because Ohtani (in particular) isn’t worth a lot, but other GMs won’t take any risks with the injury history and the .170 batting average.
I’m ambivalent about Eppler’s history with acquiring players but I just think it’s unwise to move Bundy right now. Like I mentioned before, if the Angels intend to compete (which they seem to want to do), trading someone with Bundy’s production and extra year of club control seems counterproductive. Try extending him before you explore trading him.
Counterpoint: trading Bundy helps team tank this year /s
Trading Ohtani huh, well Jedi might do it if another team made it a third way trade as l think he feels the same about us as we feel about him.. If we need pitching (Oh and we do) why would we trade Bundy? I agree that Adell might bring a half way decent pitcher in return.
I would, so far Bundy’s had one bad outing ( vs Giants ).
If we could fetch a top end ready to start day one in the Big Show prospect then we need to pursue it. I don’t want Eppler making that maneuver however ( probably get bag full of rocks in return ). We need a big power hitter and a pitching prospect. SS, 2B, 1B, SP, RP.
Do the guy a big favor and let him go play for a way better team now in this year’s post season. Should’ve done this last year with Hansel Robles and now he sucks again.
We don’t need *a* pitching prospect. We need 3-4 of them, or MLB-ready arms to fill out a rotation that has one very good piece in Bundy, and two (currently) average arms in Heaney and Canning. The starting rotation has been this team’s playoff-kryptonite since 2015.
We should stop fetishizing one more “big power hitter” and be laser focused on the rotation, and a deep, durable pipeline that graduates new arms into it. The Angels already have a playoff-caliber offense, and the bullpen has begun to stabilize (it has taken one month to do so in previous seasons). But the starting pitching deficit isn’t going away.
Yes, it’s been frustrating that Eppler hasn’t exclusively chosen college pitchers with his first three or so draft picks in each of the past few years so they could come to the big league club and help before the Trout window closes.
I’m your choir – definitely been singing this refrain for the past five years each time I did Draft coverage under Eppler.
In 2016, the BPA (best player/pitcher available) on the board when Eppler chose Matt Thaiss was Dakota Hudson. St Louis scooped him up and he’s been a core part of their rotation since 2018.
In 2018, the BPA was Brady Singer, selected only one slot after Jordyn Adams. Singer was a top five talent coming into the draft, and is already having his first cup of coffee with KC.
In 2019, when Eppler chose Will Wilson (a baffling high-floor, low-ceiling pick at a position where the Angels already had a ton of depth), Eppler had his pick of Zack Thompson, George Kirby, or Jackson Rutledge – each of whom went in the next five picks to teams with much more sensible drafting strategies. An obvious mistake, Eppler flipped Wilson for cash a few months later.
A team with Hudson, Singer and (say) Kirby looks quite a bit different than a team with Thaiss, Adams and cash. Casual fans continue to oversell Eppler’s drafting prowess. Imbalanced draft classes and lots of lotto tickets have the system falling quickly down the rankings, despite five years of reasonable strong drafting position.
Eppler’s draft record is all over the place. The Canning, Adell, and Marsh picks look like very good selections but there is a giant mixed bag beyond the obvious names. Where is the sneaky value grab past Round 5? Where is the solid reliever who was picked in the teen rounds? There’s an obvious weakness when you get beyond the first few rounds. I commend Eppler for turning the system around and getting several high-profile guys. But the overall track record, especially when you consider their high draft picks, ain’t great.
I had planned to do system reviews of 2017 and 2018 at one point over at the old site. What astonished me was that Eppler had flushed 50% or more of his 2016 and 2017 selections out of the system within two years time. Much like the Wilson pick, he was quickly (and quietly) cutting bait on his selections very rapidly, leaving a very thin organization at multiple talent levels.
This narrative – that Eppler should be commended for “turning the system around” – is on pretty thin ice. ~80 more Adell at-bats, and he graduates – then the farm falls back to #26 in the Fangraphs ranking, and 26-27 or so in the MLB Pipeline and Baseball America rankings. That’s exactly where the farm was when Dipoto transitioned out. It only fell to #30 when Eppler traded the system’s top two arms (Newcomb/Ellis) for Andrelton. When that happened, Keith Law commented that the farm was the worst one he’d seen in years. But before that, it was beginning to inch up from the bottom. (And we’ve seen that Dipoto can build a good farm when given the opportunity – Baseball America ranks Seattle at #3 now.)
Five drafts and the graduation of two players (Adell/Canning) shouldn’t get us a bottom five farm, but that’s where we’re headed. David Fletcher, drafted by Dipoto the year before Eppler arrived, has put up 5x more WAR than all Eppler draftees combined. Yes, there’s recency issues that make this a somewhat unfair comparison, but other teams have done far, far better over the same span.
There’s simply no middle ground with Eppler picks. Boom or bust, it seems. Granted I know that’s the case with the draft overall but like Brent points out above, there’s not even a “we drafted him as a starter in round 9 but he became a good reliever” on the radar for Eppler.
On the pitching side of things there’s Detmers, Canning, and absolutely nobody else and one could argue both fell to him and made them too obvious of selections to pass up.
I like upside, don’t get me wrong, but it takes 40 players to compete for anything meaningful so producing 1 Adell every five years isn’t good enough. You need to also be bringing in a few rotation pieces, bullpen arms, and at least passable players on other spots of the diamond.
definitely the Dodgers two biggest stars ( Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts were 4th RD and 5th RD finds respectively for Dodgers and RS ) these are the kind of guys that this organization hasn’t found or developed at all. I thought maybe Wally Joyner was one but found out he was a 2nd Rd pick too. This is probably a sign of piss poor coaching and player development then. 😖
I gotta respectfully disagree with you on this TT
I want us to get to where Oakland, the Dodgers and the Astros are. Lots of power around the infield and what if we lose Simba. Rendon is 30 and then of course we have Albert. We don’t have a young power hitter ( Bellinger, Acuna, Alonzo, or Juan Soto. ) A big bat and a big arm is what we need but one guy isn’t gonna get you both. The last 3 WSC teams all had a mostly homegrown powerful infield and mostly mercenary starting pitching rotations.
First instinct is No but then you remember people clung to Griffin Canning based on a promising debut and now he looks pretty de-valued as a trade chip due to health and performance. Selling high can be a good thing.
Griffin Canning has pitched a grand total of 118 MLB innings, and the Angels have him for five more years after this one. It’s way too early to give up on Canning, or to think of him as a trade chip, based on his league average performance (99 ERA+) through just over a half season’s worth of starts.
To put Canning in even better perspective, he’s the only pitcher drafted from the 2017 draft who has put up more than 1 WAR to date (per B-R), and he currently has the third-highest WAR of any prospect selected in that draft.
Be patient, fans! It takes time for prospects to develop.
Ditto Sandoval, imho.
Extend Bundy? Why extend someone who only goes every 5 days? What this team needs is more FIREPOWER. I’m thinking J.D. Martinez. 8 years. 240 million. That’s a lineup ready to ROCK.
I’ve put on my flak jacket to prepare for the incoming I’m about to absorb. But if I’m the GM, I would think about floating what I could get for Ohtani. Aside from the marketing, it appears less and less likely he will become the two-way ace we were hoping for, and is reduced to being a pretty good, but not irreplaceable DH. Think about what we could get from a team like Seattle that has a LOT of minor league talent and a tremendous desire to own him. Detroit has tons of pitching prospects as well. I think he could get us a game-changing haul.
You shouldn’t have to put on a flak jacket for that suggestion. The other editors will tell you that I’ve floated trading Ohtani more than once. Ohtani, Adell and Marsh have the most trade value (though Adell’s is declining each day he flails in the field and at the plate) – and none of the three are critical to the team’s immediate resurgence. It’s starting pitching that will do that.
I can attest to this. Turk’s has advocated trading Adell for quite a while too if the price was right. That price is usually Mize from Detroit. The trade makes perfect sense for both teams but is way too high risk for any GM to actually make.
As far as Ohtani, I wonder if any organization would let him play outfield. Maybe even the Angels? His sprint speed is legit and he’d only make a handful of throws per game. That would greatly increase his value, either here or somewhere else.
Unless New York were game, I think the only really sensible landing spot for Ohtani would be Seattle. They’ve been experimenting with two-way players on their farm, and they have a robust Asian-American population among their fanbase, and obvious history with successful Japanese players. The West Coast context allows Ohtani direct flights to Japan. Seattle would value him as both a DH, and a pitching asset they could patiently develop.
Seattle also now has one of the top farm systems in baseball, overweight in college pitching. Five of their top ten – Hancock, Gilbert, Kirby, Sheffield, Dunn – are advanced college arms, with two already pitching in the MLB rotation, and a couple more probably only a year out.
I’ll take two please!
If Moreno ever greenlights a trade with Dipoto, I’ll choke on my water. The Seattle idea is quite good but unfortunately it will not happen, or my name isn’t Shirley.
Shirley Setty has a future.
The Angels? I’m not so sure.
Eppler vs Jedi in a trade negotiation……..YIKES!!!!
we’d end up with a mangled Razor kick scooter. 😣
I’ve been thinking the same thing Jeff. Ohtani should be converted back to an OF (preferably RF). We should abandon the SP ship and try to maximize his talents as an everyday player for the remaining years we have him. His athleticism and previous experience in the field should make the transition reasonable. Leave the door cracked on occasional RP work if mentally/physically possible.
Jo Adell is our most significant trade chip and, IMO, we should cash in. I’m more than comfortable with Goodwin/Trout/Ohtani while we wait for Marsh. Maybe Cleveland would be willing to talk on a package of young arms
I’m officially on board with trading Ohtani or Adell. Adell will get better and be a great piece but I’d rather keep Marsh if I had to choose between the two and if trading Adell meant we could get some strong pitching pieces in return.
Adell’s fielding is a huge concern for me. Aside from the now infamous 4-base error he’s regularly misplayed balls, gaffed back-up responsibilities, collided with teammates on multiple occasions, and allowed Kung Fu Panda to advance on his arm twice. I think the bat will be a threat but we don’t need more offense we need pitching and lots of it. I think Jo gets us the most not Shohei
Keep in mind Adell has primarily played center field in his career. He’s learning new spin and angles at the MLB level right now. It has been tough to watch, no doubt, but should be factored in a bit.
Realistically, the team should wait to trade Adell or Marsh until the offseason. Adell’s value is a bit depressed given the uncomfortable spotlight on his premature debut.
If I were Billy Eppler™ – I’d be swapping Marsh for Adell at the Long Beach alternative site, and give Marsh the final 25-30 games of the 2020 in RF. The team should know who has more value for them in the near-term, and I think it’s always been a coin flip between Adell and Marsh as to who might have more value long-term. Gives the team some opportunity to build up Marsh’s trade profile, while giving Adell a moment to breathe and regain his swagger.
Sound like a plan to me!
What kind of return would you expect? The list of suitors with OF need and a surplus of major league ready SP seems slim. Cleveland & Toronto, maybe Detroit & Kansas City if they want Jo for their rebuild. I know he’s talented but the fit has to be there right?
Well, over at Halos Heaven, I floated a few (admittedly over-complicated) proposals in the off-season, when Adell’s value was at its peak. Adell for Mize was one, Adell for Civale and Espino (among others) was another.
Detroit is an obvious match-up, and has been for a year. It wouldn’t have to be Mize. They have Manning and Skubal as well, but I’d like to see a second piece come back if the trade were anchored to either.
Marsh Trout Goodwin good SP > Adell Trout Goodwin maybe SP
No other choice but to keep Bundy for this year and next IF we plan to compete next year. There is no way we can fill out a rotation without him for next season given who we have on the farm and our payroll commitments. It’s not just some pitcher we’re talking about, but the only guy who can go deep in the game and give the bullpen a night off. He’s worth more to us in this regards than to other teams who have a deep rotation and bullpen.
He’s also the only real pitcher (not thrower) we seem to have, is only 27, and has proven himself to be more durable than anyone else we have. I can’t see us getting back enough value for him unless we’re also punting 2021, or somehow Billy is able to pick up 2 stud starters on the cusp of the big leagues in exchange. Not sure I see that happening.
However, it would be just like Billy to undervalue pitching, like he’s done his entire tenure, so you never know.
After Dipoto I had supported Eppler but now it’s just frustrating. Five years of fielders (granted we got Adell) in the first round instead of the pitching we traded away before Eppler and now we’re in a hole that’s making even some of the most diehard fans question their loyalty? That should alarm Moreno and Eppler, but one could say money is more important but you can’t get that money without the diehards, so let’s hope pitching is in our future and that the future includes an improved Number 37.
A starting rotation consists of five starters. Unless someone is willing to make a wildly uneven trade, it is best to think of Bundy as one of the five we will need to become a contender. Try trading somebody like Simmons instead who can be easily replaced by Fletcher (who should also not be traded).
If I’m Eppler, who I had supported but now it’s just frustrating, if people are making offers for Bundy and seeing how well he’s doing, I’m going to ask for at least a Dustin May type, of course I’m not him and I don’t know baseball as well as I’d like to think, but at this point in time they have to know how frustrated we are as fans and seeing this headline is more frustrating because we finally find a pitcher who works for us and now trade talks are popping up. We held onto Heaney when he was doing good so why can’t we with Bundy?
I think the Angels have two options: extend or trade at peak value.
Bundy is worth an extension, imo. Buy out the 2021 year, and extend him for three more through 2024. Offer him 4yrs/$50m and see if he bites for the economic security of it, and the comfort of being a frontline pitcher in a division that contains more pitcher-friendly environments than he’s been used to. The way he’s reinvented himself looks sustainable in the AL West, and the Angels are rarely successful in finding durable outperformers like Bundy.
OTOH, if the Angels are skeptical of an extension, I think a potential Bundy trade should look a lot like last year’s Marcus Stroman trade. The Angels should expect at least two controllable arms in return, with one MLB near-ready. The Mets sent their #5 and #8 prospects in Kay and Woods Richardson to Toronto for a pitcher with good upside but with a checkered past, who was pitching the best first-half season he had in his career. Sound familiar?
Baseball Trade Values featured a potential Bundy trade scenario among its featured trade proposals of the week this morning. There’s no way the Angels would (or should) do that trade as currently configured, but I could see a return of Anthony Kay and Alek Manoah as being a more reasonable exchange. That would give the Angels a high-probability backend guy in Kay, and a hard thrower who is two years out from the show in Manoah, who has a mid-rotation ceiling and late-innings-reliever floor.
In no scenario should the Angels look to deplete their rotation without ready replacements. And if they are going to trade away the first #1/2 caliber pitcher they’ve had in a few seasons, they better be getting back quantity and quality in return.
The free agent market looks pretty thin next year on the pitching front. So Eppler better get a deal really likes if he’s going to move Bundy. I know he’s out performing his track record at the moment but he’s also only 27 years old.
I’d say the needs for next year are clearly starting pitching, relief pitching, whichever field Adell doesn’t cover, and second base if Simba leaves.
Depends on the price, but Eppler needs to fill at least one of the above holes with a trade of Bundy plus add some lottery tickets if he makes a deal.
Regarding Simba, LaStella and Fletcher cover that.
I’d prefer the second baseman to have a decent glove. If Simba leaves and Fletcher is at shortstop, the defense takes a huge hit. I love Fletch, but his range isn’t Simba’s and La Stella is a huge drop off from Fletcher at second.
is there a short term SS available in FA?
This is another one of the neglected positions in Eppler’s awful draft record. Our infield is garbage compared to Houston and Oakland’s.
becomes a FA in 2021
I’m really curious to see what Simba’s market will look like. I’d love to have him back but, when you can get Freddy Galvis or Jose Inglesias for 1/$5m-ish, why would you pay much more for Simmons? He’s undoubtedly the better player but durability is a massive concern.
So rinse and repeat of trading pitching for positional players?
It’s cool that we’re listening to offers because that’s what a good GM does. Yet, with our lack of pitching talent, a better GM will straight up say, “We’re not listening to any offers because Bundy will be a core part of our pitching group going forward.”
Give us Angels fans something we’ve been missing for the past five seasons… Hope.
Can we talk about the other side of this? What if we are seeing the aberration, and we can get a great package right now but nothing later when/if he turns back into an Oriole-orange pumpkin? I did read Brent’s article, and it does appear the underlying metrics support his success. Maybe I’m just gun shy because it seems no matter what we do with pitchers it’s the wrong choice. Feels like Schrodinger’s cat where Bundy is both awesome and awful. If we trade him, he stays an ace for another team. If we keep him, he starts getting figured out by the league and has an era over 5 for the rest of this year and next.
Hope I’m wrong…
Also I don’t think teams will pony up for half a shortened season and one giant question mark season of control of a guy who very recently was not good, so I would say keep him and see how it goes. Warm body for the 5(6) man rotation.
Bundy is under team control for next year, too, but this small sample of really good ball compared to his previous career will be used by teams to try to reduce their offers. And I feel the same way, like Bundy will continue to be good if we trade him and crater back if we keep him. It is illogical because it was obviously the Angels coaching staff that changed his pitch usage, but that’s the trauma of being an Angels fan.
Great point. Look how Trevor Cahill just pitched, now that we aren’t paying him to suck for us.
I’d love to join the keep Bundy bandwagon, but trading him is the right move. How many years are the Angels going to aim for the second wild card spot? Because let’s face it, the best the team is likely to do next year if they keep Bundy is a chance at the wild card, assuming <enter 3-4 hopes for a change in bad luck, e.g., Ohtani pitches like an ace>. And if the team does focus on being slightly better next year, it will continue to flounder year after year, never improving the farm and never becoming a true contender.
The right move is to trade Bundy for pitching prospects that are estimated to be ready by 2022. Draft college arms next year, and when Pujols’ contract is finally off the books, the Angels might actually have a chance at making the post season that is based on more than hoping everything goes right.
The fact that they designated Hermosillo for assignment makes me think some kind of move is on the way.
I’d sure hate to see Bundy go in view of the Angels pitching woes.
Keep Bundy for 2021 and beyond. Starting pitching is our greatest need now and will be next year too. To be competitive next year we will need to add a quality front-line starter, have Shohei at least approximate his top flight starter potential AND have a Bundy close to what we’ve seen thus far in 2020.
Trading Bundy, the only quality starter the Angels have had since 2015, is waving a white flag on next year as well. We should be talking about extending him, not trading him. The package needs to include true young pitching talent and MLB ready arms as well. He’s pitched like an ace, his return should be that of an ace with a year of control.
My thoughts exactly, I’m not saying number one or two prospect from a team’s farm, I’m thinking at least top 10 pitching from their Farm.