Mets Should Sign Dylan Bundy
The New York Mets are still looking to build their bullpen, and the one spot they haven’t quite addressed is the one now vacated by Trevor Williams. Williams held down the role once held by Seth Lugo. Like Williams, Lugo left via free agency, and the Mets really do not have a long man in their bullpen.
In many ways, the long man role is one that needs to be manufactured. it is for a starter who can’t quite start but needs to be good enough to fill-in that role on necessity. It also needs to be a reliever who is not quite dominant because those dominant relievers are better suited and more needed in the later innings of games.
Often times, the long man is just found out of necessity. For example, Williams had no options remaining. He was put in the bullpen where he was terrific. We have seen the Mets thrive with long men options in the past like Williams, Pat Mahomes, Carlos Torres, and Sean Gilmartin.
This is a role which should not go to David Peterson or Tylor Megill, each of whom the Mets should be developing. Rather, the Mets need to sign a free agent for this role, and surveying the landscape, it would seem Dylan Bundy is well suited for this role.
Bundy, 30, was once a big time prospect being selected fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2011 draft. Coincidentally, he would play as a rookie and young player under Buck Showalter, and like we see with Tommy Hunter and Mychal Givens, the Mets have liked bringing back some of Showalter’s old Orioles pitchers.
Looking at Bundy, his only good year as a starter was the pandemic shortened season of 2020. With a career 92 ERA+ and 4.68 FIP, it is really time to admit Bundy isn’t a viable starting pitcher in the leagues. That is moreso the case for a pitcher who has been at a 77 ERA+ and 5.00 FIP over the past two seasons.
Going to Baseball Savant, Bundy does a few things very well. First, he has excellent control. Second, he gets good spin on his fastball. Overall, he doesn’t walk batters, but when batters make contact, they really create damage.
Remember, by signing Bundy you’re not looking for a shutdown reliever. Rather, the goal is to find a reliever who can just eat innings. They need someone out there who can save the bullpen. A pitcher who doesn’t walk batters and is accustomed to pitch more than 1-2 innings is exactly who you want.
In his career, Bundy is at his best the first time through the lineup. The first time through he limits batters to a .239/.298/.432 batting line. That’s exactly what the Mets want. Rather, it’s what they need. They need a pitcher who can handle the first time through the order exceptionally well and who can eat innings to save the bullpen.
This is what Williams was. Of note, Jeremy Hefner worked well with Williams to adapt to this role. Chances are, he and Showalter can do the same with Bundy. As a result, the Mets should sign Bundy to take over the long reliever role.