On Monday, the Orioles traded Angel Miranda, an older minor league pitcher, to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for the left-handed throwing Wade Miley. Miley, a starting pitcher who is 7-8 and has a 4.98 ERA on the season, brings a new set of questions to Baltimore. Mainly, people are asking why? The Orioles are looking to fight for the playoffs, and a player with those kind of stats does nothing to comfort anybody’s doubts that the team will continue to play well enough to achieve such a goal.
However, there is more to the picture. As with most trades during the trade deadline, the Orioles not only filled a need, but they did it on the cheap. There was no way Baltimore would have been able to afford to go out and acquire one of the glitzy starting pitchers being shopped around. And let’s face it- even if they did have the minor league talent to offer up for a glamour piece like Rich Hill or Matt Moore, it’s hard to think that giving away prospects would be worth obtaining a starter for just a few months. Instead, GM Dan Duquette stuck to his restrictions and shopped within his budget.
So why did Duquette pull the trigger on this trade? What makes Wade Miley worth it? While Miley does not bring knockdown numbers, he does bring several things the Orioles have not been getting from their starting pitchers all season long.
He is a lefty. That is something Baltimore knew they needed in their rotation. Opposing managers stack the lineup depending on pitching matchups and left-handed pitchers limit their options.
He is a veteran. Miley has been in the majors since 2011 and brings experience.
He was a cheap trade. While the Orioles did pick up the remainder of his contract, he is under team control through next year with a team option for 2018 as well. This means he’s not a rental player.
Therefore, he is an option. The Orioles have the ability to create competition again. Miley will be in camp next Spring Training, competing with whoever the O’s decide to bring in during the off-season. It also allows the Orioles to move Ubaldo Jimenez back to the bullpen.
He is hot. Over the month of July, Miley has had a 3.45 ERA and in the five games he’s started. Over those five games he has gone at least six innings in four of them.
Statistically, he is better than most of what the Orioles have currently. Only Chris Tillman has a better ERA this season, and only Tillman and Kevin Gausman have more strikeouts.
The hope is that Miley will keep the team in the game through allowing limited runs and going deeper into ballgames. He will provide stability as the Orioles #4 starter. Will he make the difference? Let’s hope so. But I think we can all sleep better knowing that, this trade deadline, the O’s went with a low-risk move by acquiring a starting pitcher with the things they need while giving away next to nothing to get him.