All over but the buyout for Miley, Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

All over but the buyout for Miley, Orioles

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I’m not sure how much of a decision this is anymore.

You have to think about halfway through this season that every power-that-is in the Orioles’ organization – and there are plenty of them – reached the consensus that lefty Wade Miley’s 2018 option won’t be picked up.

But I heard the faintest whisper – the occasional if – about Miley’s future with the club in August when he strung together a 2.60 ERA in five starts. If the Orioles pick up his $12 million option … Maybe $12 million isn’t out of the question for a veteran lefty ….

Well, August was a long time ago in Miley starts.

The 30-year-old Miley allowed six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings Wednesday in a loss to the Boston Red Sox. He’s now 8-14 with a 5.52 ERA. He’s given up 16 earned runs in his past 10 1/3 innings spanning three outings.

And he did Wednesday what he’s done most of the season: He walked too many guys. Against Boston, it was four free passes; on the season, it’s a major-league high 88 in 153 1/3 innings. In his 42 starts for the Orioles, he is 10-19 with a 5.69 ERA and 103 walks. He’ll probably get one more start to alter those numbers ever so slightly.

A few weeks ago, we wrote on this site that Miley was probably the Orioles’ No. 3 starter if they made the postseason. That was more about what the others weren’t doing than what Miley had accomplished.

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But there should be no hesitation concerning Miley’s club future now.

Paying $500,000 to buy out his option is a no-brainer. Even though that means the Orioles have only two starters in their 2018 rotation: Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.

The expectation is that Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeremy Hellickson will all walk as free agents this winter, and by not exercising Miley’s option, the team is woefully thin in the rotation heading into the winter.

To save $11.5 million, I say take emaciated.

Miley will find a job. He is left-handed. He’s relatively young, 31 in November. He’s had some bright spots this year. And some good seasons in the past.

But the Orioles need a mulligan on this rotation that is on pace to post the worst starters’ ERA in club history.

And I don’t care if the going rate for a veteran starter on the free agent market ends up being $12 million. The point is the Orioles tried Miley in Camden Yards and in the AL East. It hasn’t gone swimmingly.

The guy took the ball every fifth (or sixth day) and was a stand-up presence in the clubhouse while doing it. And, who knows, he may end up revitalizing his career somewhere else next year.

That’s OK. I wish him well. And everyone should move on.

Frankly, I’ve never lamented the fact that the Orioles dealt away lefty Ariel Miranda to Seattle to get Miley. I’m not a believer in Miranda as a big league pitcher. It was worth the chance, if not the money, I suppose.

The Orioles took a shot at a resurgence. Miley couldn’t throw strikes consistently. Now, he can be sent away with a handshake, a ‘thanks for your effort and professionalism’ and a $500,000 buyout.

That should be the end of this story.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 21, 2017 at 7:10 am

    I say give him the $500,000, suggest he join the Dollar Shave Club and send him on his way.

    • JCO

      September 21, 2017 at 11:45 am

      That’s 500,000 razors, Boog. He’d have a lifetime supply and enough for lifetime supplies for his buddies. So, yeah, sounds like a plan to me 🙂

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 21, 2017 at 2:47 pm

        Problem is, it looks like he shaves with a dull spoon.

  2. pedro

    September 21, 2017 at 8:45 am

    100% agree. He sucked when he pitched for Boston. His stuff does not play in the AL East. On another note, what a terrible message to the fan base if you pick up the option. “Yes, we are fine with paying $12mm to an 8-14 starter with a 5.51 era. Happy to have him in our rotation for you to pay to see next year”. Ugh…..

  3. TxBirdFan

    September 21, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Is it my imagination or are O’s pitchers always among league leaders in number of walks? Cabrera, Ubaldo, Miley….even Gausman this year. Maybe Camden brings out the corner nibblers in everyone because it’s a HR friendly park.

    • pedro

      September 21, 2017 at 8:49 am

      It’s called talent.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 21, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Tex … I wouldn’t doubt for a second that the park scares certain pitchers into nibbling a bit more at the corners than they normally would.

    • bigdaddydk

      September 21, 2017 at 9:10 am

      We’ve had pitchers who don’t shy away from the strike zone too. We had a lefty a few years ago who could pitch around the strike zone, but we decided that Wei-Yin Chen was too expensive to re-sign and let him walk. Granted, he had arm troubles after that, but the fact remains that we had a serviceable lefty who pitched pretty well in OPACY with a winning record and a sub-4.00 ERA. That should have counted for something then, but we dropped bank on Ubaldo and traded for a lefty who was trending the wrong way when we acquired him. OPACY has a reputation as a hitter’s park, and it is one. But even within the AL East, Fenway and the Rogers Centre are both very hitter friendly, by some metrics even more so than OPACY. That doesn’t stop David Price and Chris Sale from coming to the AL East, knowing that they play 100+ games in hitter friendly environments (not counting Yankee Stadium and the Trop, both of which can be hitter friendly too). Talent means a lot, and we’re perilously thin in that department with our starting pitching right now.

      • Paul Folkemer

        September 21, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        There’s no doubt that the Orioles’ rotation is in shambles, but I wouldn’t lament the loss of Chen. He hasn’t performed anywhere near the huge contract the Marlins gave him. He was unimpressive last season (4.96 ERA in the NL) and he’s been injured for almost all of this season. And he’s still owed at least $52 million for the next three years assuming he doesn’t opt out.

        The Orioles made the right move in letting Chen walk. But they did a very poor job of replacing him.

        • bigdaddydk

          September 21, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          In hindsight that’s true. But at the time he was a very serviceable lefty who appeared headed into the prime of his career. It’s a move that didn’t make sense at the time when they threw the money at Ubaldo. I agree that now he’s not worth it, but this could be true of any FA signing.

          • Paul Folkemer

            September 21, 2017 at 3:11 pm

            I think if we’re going to bash the Orioles for moves that didn’t work out (like Ubaldo, Chris Davis, etc.), it’s only fair to give them credit for moves that did. They made a determination that Chen wouldn’t be worth the $80 million contract he wanted, and they turned out to be right.

            I wouldn’t say they threw the Chen money at Ubaldo. Ubaldo was already two years into his contract with the Orioles when Chen left.

          • bigdaddydk

            September 22, 2017 at 8:26 am

            I would agree that credit for the moves that worked has to be given. I have no problem with that. Bashing is not my intent, and I don’t believe I am bashing, but it’s more to point out that the pitchers brought in had very obvious downsides and were not on upward trajectories in their careers. Ubaldo had not had stellar seasons prior (the season immediately before with Cleveland was pretty good) and had pitched to an ERA over 5.00 in the previous three seasons. He’s always been a bit of a walk machine with a K/BB ration somewhere around 2 for his career. Gallardo was injured before coming to Baltimore and flunked the physical, but they shaved a year off of the contract instead of rescinding it entirely. Miley’s ERA has climbed every year except for his second year, officially his rookie campaign, and his propensity for putting runners on base was well documented.

            I completely get why some pitchers were let go. Arrieta wasn’t making progress in Baltimore. Bridwell didn’t show much promise in our system. Miranda wasn’t considered much of a prospect, and I’m not convinced he’d amount to much in a hitter’s park like OPACY. Who realistically thought Parra was going to fall to pieces in Baltimore when they gave up Davies for him? E-Rod for Miller was a good move at the time (I just wish they’d actually made some reasonable effort to re-sign him instead of giving his contract, more or less, to an older O’Day) and it helped win the division. I’m not all gloom and doom on acquisitions. I also look at the Beckham and Smith acquisitions as good ones. Smith has been a solid contributor this year and Beckham is our shortstop for the immediate future with years of team control left. I look at the Chen departure and don’t really believe the team had any interest in re-signing him, even when Ubaldo was acquired. So in that sense, money that could have been used to retain him did go to Ubaldo, and later to Miley to get the lefty. It looks like a good move in hindsight, but did someone have information at the time to say that his arm would fall off? If not, what was the justification at the time, aside from $80 million, to let him walk?

            Long story short, we have known since Chen left that pitching was an issue. The efforts to address it have been rather lackluster, particularly based on a lack of recent success with pitcher reclamation projects. Somewhere in the front office, it appears that the spaghetti on the wall approach to starting pitching has become the prevailing philosophy.

    • Bancells Moustache

      September 21, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Your definitely on to something Tex, especially as it pertains to Gausman’s horrific first half. It was my, admittedly amateur, observation that he was trying way to hard to be the scalpel and the umps weren’t giving him the black. This made me question whether Castillo had any role in his troubles, but whatever. Be interesting to see one of the stat-geeks make one of those multi-colored charts on Gausman’s strike zone usage before and after the Cubs game in July, which was clearly Kevin’s “Eureeka, I don’t want to suck anymore” moment.

      • Osfan73

        September 21, 2017 at 11:54 am

        You need to earn that black. Gausman hasn’t yet.

  4. bigdaddydk

    September 21, 2017 at 8:51 am

    There’s always the lingering thought in the back of my mind that Duquette will wait so long to make a move to acquire pitching that Miley will be all that’s left. Dumpster Dan has never been one to be quick on the draw when it comes to free agency, and I could see us in a position to need pitching come February and either go after Miley or some similar clone simply to put a warm body in the stables.

    • Steve Cockey

      September 21, 2017 at 10:07 am

      The deliberate way of doing business goes deeper than Duquette, in my opinion. Remember, Andy MacPhail was often chastised for the same thing.

      • bigdaddydk

        September 21, 2017 at 10:11 am

        There’s an element of truth to what you say. The GM is the guy who is most visible in trades, so he’ll shoulder the blame. However, I get the clear impression that there’s mismanagement throughout the organization when it comes to acquiring and retaining talent. I’m of the belief that Angelos isn’t set upon winning championships, but remaining profitable. If that means merely playing meaningful baseball on September 1, that may be enough for him. Either way, I am still apprehensive that we will acquire legit MLB pitching talent through trade or FA because the front office will “wait for the market to develop,” as Duquette has said on several occasions.

      • JCO

        September 21, 2017 at 11:44 am

        I’m pretty much convinced that Angelos is still the root of a lot of the O’s front office issues. Take the 21-Million-Dollar-Ball-and-Chain/professional pitch watcher they have at first base…these are quotes from MLB Trade Rumors before and during ol’ Crush-Our-Hopes’ signing:

        “The Orioles have been debating moving on from Chris Davis for about a month, but the team remains engaged with the slugging first baseman due to owner Peter Angelos’ affinity for Davis.”

        “Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs wonders if Angelos was willing to accept a higher team budget if Davis re-signed. We often assume teams have relatively fixed budgets, but the reality of the matter is that they can be player dependent. In Angelos’ mind, a team with Davis on the roster might be worth a larger investment than a team with another slugger.”

        “Give owner Peter Angelos credit, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. As has long been reported, he was the driving force in keeping negotiations with Davis alive.”

        Uh-huh.

        The other thing, for those who want Duquette out, will that really make things much better? Who here really thinks that debacles like the Davis signing and Angelos forcing it aren’t something that’s known in MLB front office circles. Why would a sharp GM or assistant GM looking to move up want to deal with a meddling owner like that?

  5. Steve Cockey

    September 21, 2017 at 9:17 am

    In some ways, Miley’s rough month could be a blessing in disguise. Had the 5-start, 2.60 ERA-run continued a bit longer, perhaps the O’s think a little harder about picking up the option. Now, the decision has pretty much been made for them. Time to move on and seek out the next Chen, Gonzalez, etc. — a capable SP that won’t break the bank.

    A piece of advice for the O’s: As difficult as it will be, acquire three starters this winter, not two. Penciling in Castro/Ynoa as the 5th starter would be the wrong move IMO. Those guys are much better suited as depth — in the pen or at AAA — to be called upon when the inevitable injury or underperformance happens. Slotting them higher than that on paper puts you behind the 8 ball from the outset.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 21, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Steve, I agree with you regarding Castro & Ynoa, as well as the need for 3 new starters. However, I’m expecting the O’s to try and work out some sort of deal to retain Tillman. And frankly, if the money and years are low enough, I’m all in. I don’t think Tillman is finished, although I’d still like to get 3 new starting arms into the organization regardless. 6 man rotation? Why not?

      Who are we kidding. THREE new starters? Where will they ever find THREE any better than Miley or Ubaldo? But we can dream can’t we?

      • bigdaddydk

        September 21, 2017 at 9:39 am

        They only need three average pitchers, not aces. Had they gotten league average performance this year, we’d be thinking playoffs, and perhaps winning the division. I’d look to re-sign Tillman on a show-me deal with lots of incentives, something that it wouldn’t be considered to expensive to dump with a DFA if he completely falls apart. I suspect there’s a lingering injury issue. His shoulder may be healthy, but he’s pitched from a different arm slot this year, which says he’s got range of motion issues to me. His velocity is back. I think his issue is primarily mechanical, but it could be something that gets fixed as his range of motion in the shoulder improves. I’ve had bursitis before and it can impact range of motion for some time after the injury is treated.

    • bigdaddydk

      September 21, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Realistically, a team needs about 7 starting pitchers anyway. Castro and Ynoa will be among those getting an audition, but I agree that they should not be slotted in automatically. Proven and reliable starting pitchers are absolutely necessary, and these two may develop into such pitchers over time. I would not consider it wise to go into the season relying on them to be a solid #4 or #5 though.

  6. ZantiGM

    September 21, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Going to be lots of competition for these guys BUT Dan needs to go very hard after-Cashner, Chacin, Lynn, Cobb, Jamie Garcia, Vargas-KC, and Cueto and maybe bring Chen(Marlins) back on a one year deal if he is healthy

    • bigdaddydk

      September 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Every one of those pitchers should be a target. No question about it for me.

  7. Osfan73

    September 21, 2017 at 11:51 am

    The announcers actually said last night was something of an audtion for Miley because of said his option. Really?? Please just leave it lay-that option-and pay him to ‘WALK’ elsewhere!! Why throw good money after bad to a guy who leads the league in base on balls??

  8. Wade Warren

    September 21, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    only thing good about him he shares my first name

  9. TxBirdFan

    September 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I agree with the crowd – go after 3 serviceable pitchers, as long as they throw strikes to reduce all the walks.

    And I’m not hatin on Davis – at least not yet. I said two months ago that batting Davis and Trumbo back to back was a rally killer. Sure they had their moments but more often than not they both left men on base. If we keep both next year then they should be platooned.

    I still have hope!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      I’m pretty certain with the contracts, that neither of them are going anywhere. Chris Davis is THE most overpaid bum in baseball.

  10. Ezrine Tire Award

    September 21, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Quitters…….

  11. OsFanStuckInNY

    September 21, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    How about Ynoa tonight!
    Can throw strikes AND field his position — at least against TB.
    Time will tell…

    • Birdman

      September 21, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Pencil him into the starting rotation in 2018 … he cannot possibly be any worse than Ubaldo, Tillman, and Miley were this season

    • bigdaddydk

      September 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

      He’ll be seriously considered for the rotation in spring training. He’d be an amazing success if he pans out, even as a 4.00-ish ERA guy. His K/9 rate is a little low, so he’ll either have to develop a serious put-away pitch or he’ll have to work to his defense. He gives up a lot of hits, but doesn’t seem especially prone to the long ball yet. His ERA+ of 127 this year is significant too, although only in a limited sample. What I like about him is that he’s around the plate. He doesn’t walk people. His GB% of 37% this year is a bit low, and it’s a bit lower than his career rate. If he can keep the ball in the yard, though, he’ll be an asset.

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