Hundley, acquired from the San Diego Pardres for reliever Troy Patton, appeared in 50 games, and shored up a position that could have been disastrous when All Star catcher (and former Jesus in Cleats) Matt Wieters was lost to season-ending Tommy John Surgery.
At the time, the organization’s best assets at catcher were Caleb Joseph, a veteran AA star who had failed to take the next step, and Pride of Pigtown Steve Clevenger, whose feel-good story was better than his play on the field. Hundley provided insurance and stability. He was brought in to give the Orioles a proven Major League option to turn to, in case either of the internal options failed.
As it turns out, Caleb Joseph blossomed into a serviceable stop-gap, and Hundley was reduced to splitting time, and serving as Orioles “ace” Chris Tillman‘s personal catcher.
In his 50 games as an Oriole, Hundley slashed .233/.273/.352/.625, while hitting 5 HRs and driving in 19 runs.
Does the fact that the Orioles have declined to exercise his option mean that he’s gone? Maybe, but not necessarily. The Orioles expect Matt Wieters to return (and hopes are that he can build upon the fine offensive season he was putting together before getting injured). Assuming he will be durable as he was in the past, the organization is comfortable with Joseph and Clevenger to back him up. However, if Hundley does not find a better offer elsewhere, it is possible that the Orioles would bring him back at a more club-friendly price.
It’s not that the Orioles don’t like Nick Hundley, they simply don’t like the option’s price tag. They like him, they just don’t like-like him.