Could Dylan Bundy make his major league debut this year?

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The Orioles surprised the baseball world earlier this month by calling up top prospect Manny Machado. Could they do the same thing with 19-year-old Dylan Bundy? Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com seems to think so.

As each day passes, it seems more obvious that Bundy will be called up and make his major league debut before the season ends. At age 19. After beginning the year at low Single-A Delmarva.

Bundy figured to get an inning here and there out of the bullpen, but not according to the latest rumor, which has the Orioles recalling him on Aug. 31 and giving him a start on Sept. 6 against the Yankees at Camden Yards.

Keep in mind that what I’m passing along hasn’t been confirmed to me by anyone in the front office. And on the surface, it seems pretty strange that the Orioles would hand the ball to Bundy in the heat of a pennant race against the first-place team in the American League East – assuming that the Orioles haven’t overtaken them. But nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to the 2012 Orioles and their improbable run toward the playoffs.

Well, that would be something. Orioles manager Buck Showalter was actually asked last night if there were going to be any surprises in the starting rotation once rosters expand on September 1, but he smiled and played coy while saying, “I know what you’re getting at.”

Bundy, the fourth overall pick in last year’s First-Year Player Draft, has quickly emerged as one of the top prospects in all of baseball by posting a 2.01 ERA and 113/24 K/BB ratio over his first 22 professional starts. He has allowed five runs (four earned) over 11 innings in his first two starts since a recent promotion to Double-A Bowie. The teenage right-hander recently got the stamp of approval from future Hall of Famer Jim Thome.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.