On the eve of this season’s non-waiver trade deadline, the Orioles acquired veteran left-hander Wade Miley in a trade with the Seattle Mariners to help upgrade the team’s beleaguered-but-improving starting rotation.
The deal will send away 27-year-old Cuban left-hander Ariel Miranda, who pitched one game for the Orioles this season and was with Triple-A Norfolk.
“Wade Miley is a workhorse, veteran, left-handed starter who likes to pitch and compete,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said by text message. “We think he will contribute to this year’s club with some quality innings.”
The acquisition of Miley gives the Orioles the left-handed starter they’ve been without all season. It comes at a relatively low cost in terms of the prospect they had to surrender, but the Orioles will have to absorb a significant amount of money.
Miley is in the second year of a three-year, $19.25-million deal he signed two months after the Red Sox acquired him. He is making $6.167 million this season and will make $8.917 million next season. His deal also includes a $12-million club option for 2018 with a $500,000 buyout.
Miley, 29, was 7-8 with a 4.98 ERA in 19 starts with the Mariners. On Saturday he snapped a string of six straight losses with seven innings of one-hit ball with nine strikeouts in an interleague contest against the Chicago Cubs.
Despite all the recent losses, four of Miley’s five outings in July were quality starts.
The Orioles will be Miley’s fourth team in the last three seasons. The Boston Red Sox acquiring him from the Arizona Diamondbacks ahead of the 2015 season for a pair of young pitchers. Miley went 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA in his only year for the Red Sox, who dealt him last offseason to the Mariners for reliever Carson Smith.
Miley was an All-Star with the Diamondbacks in 2012, his first full big-league season, going 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA in 32 games (29 starts) and placing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting behind Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.
In four seasons in the NL, all with Arizona, Miley was 38-35 with a 3.79 ERA. He’s struggled to duplicate those numbers in two seasons in the American League, going 18-19 with a 4.65 ERA with Boston and Seattle.
He has a resume of being durable, posting 194 or more innings in each of his first four full seasons in the major leagues. That includes back-to-back 200-inning seasons in 2013 and 2014 in Arizona.
Miley is 5-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 18 career starts against the Orioles’ division competitors, but eight of those games are against Tampa Bay, against whom he posted a 4-2 mark and 2.81 ERA. He hasn’t fared well in three starts at Camden Yards, going 1-2 with an 8.03 ERA, though he did pitch six shutout innings of two-hit ball against the Orioles on May 17 in Baltimore.
He won six of his first eight decisions despite posting a 5.27 ERA in that time over his first 12 starts. He has lost six of his last seven starts, even though he posted a lower ERA (4.46) over that span.
The Orioles are getting a pitcher who seems to have found a bit of a groove. In five July starts, Miley’s ERA is 3.45 and opposing hitters are batting .248 in that span.
The Orioles gave Miranda a $725,000 signing bonus when they plucked the left-hander out of Cuba in May of 2015. It was one of the largest bonuses the club has given a Cuban player. He received a brief major league call-up earlier this month, allowing three runs on four hits over two relief innings in his only appearance, July 3 in Seattle.
He was 4-7 with a 3.93 ERA in 19 starts at Triple-A Norfolk this season and has pitched to a 3.52 ERA in four minor league starts since returning to the Tides.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Saturday he was continuing to shop for pitching upgrades – the team has focused on rotation help and a left-handed reliever – but admitted that the market was thin for pitching.
Manager Buck Showalter said before Sunday’s game in Toronto that he had been in constant discussion with Duquette about numerous trade possibilities.
“We’ve talked about some different things that are out there,” Showalter said. “If it fits, and is a good move for us now and for the future, I’m sure we will [do it]. But if not, sometimes the best deals you make are the ones you don’t make, too. I have a lot of confidence in our people. I’m just trying to stay focused here.”
The Orioles’ starting rotation went into the All-Star break with a 5.15 ERA, which ranked 14th of 15 American League clubs. That prompted them to move right-hander Dylan Bundy into the rotation from the bullpen and also give long man Vance Worley a pair of post-break starts.
Duquette found a familiar trade partner in the Mariners. This past offseason, the Orioles acquired outfielder Mark Trumbo, who currently leads the majors with 30 homers, for backup catcher Steve Clevenger. Franchise cornerstones Adam Jones and Chris Tillman were also acquired in a trade with the Mariners before the 2008 season.