08/16/11 2:23 AM ET
O's, first-rounder Bundy agree to terms
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Baltimore agreed to terms with top pick Dylan Bundy -- the fourth overall selection in the June First-Year Player Draft -- late Monday night, adding a right-handed high school power pitcher to a Minor League system lacking top tier arms.
Bundy's deal is a five-year Major League contract that includes a $4 million signing bonus and begins in 2012, meaning he won't pitch at an affiliate and will likely report to the team's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla., instead.
While Bundy's bonus falls short of an organizational record, doled out to catcher Matt Wieters ($6 million) in 2007, scouting director Joe Jordan said the reported figure of $6.225 million in guaranteed money to Bundy is "in the ballpark" of what the 18-year-old will ultimately get, which is the most total money paid out to an Orioles' Draft pick.
"When you get down to this player, [he's] a special kid and special talent," Jordan said of Bundy, who went 11-0 with a 0.20 ERA, including 158 strikeouts against five walks in 71 innings during his senior season.
"He has every intangible that the really, really good players have. Barring injury, we agreed to terms with a very special player. ... I know this kid, I know his intangibles. You know, I think this is a kid that's not afraid to be really, really good."
Considered the top prep pitcher in the Draft, and one of the best high school arms in recent memory, Bundy has a nasty curveball, a very effective cutter and an above-average changeup to go along with a blistering fastball that has touched 100 mph.
Jordan said the Major League contract was something that was "very important" to Bundy's side, and although the organization tried to avoid it, they ultimately decided it was worth the risk in signing Bundy. Signing a draftee to a Major League deal benefits the player by placing him on the 40-man roster and therefore making it easier to promote him to the Majors later. The player also has the potential of seeing a domino effect on future salaries, as his salary can't be less than 80 percent of his total compensation from the previous year.
The team loses roster flexibility with a Major League deal for a Draft pick, though it gains the advantage of lowering the average annual value by spreading it over multiple years. Players have three or four years in which they can be optioned to the Minors without clearing waivers, and with a Major League deal, the first option is typically used in the player's first year, which can also accelerate a player's timetable and forces the team's hand in the future.
While the two sides agreed to terms 10 minutes shy of the 12:01 a.m. ET deadline, Jordan said they were still hammering out details until about five minutes to midnight. Bundy was the third player to agree to terms on Monday, joining third baseman Jason Esposito (second round) and Nick Delmonico (sixth round) to round out the top 10.
"I felt like we'd get two of the three," Jordan said of his expectations of the final trio heading into Monday. "I definitely felt like we would sign Bundy, and at least one of the other two. Being able to get all three -- we feel tremendous tonight."
The Orioles agreed to terms with a total of 22 of their 50 picks, a number lower than usual because the organization eliminated a rookie-level affiliate and one of the Dominican Summer League teams, making roster space more of an issue.
Bundy will join his older brother, Bobby, who was the Orioles' eighth-round selection in the 2008 Draft and currently pitches for the Double-A Bowie Baysox.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.