Analyst Shoots Down Chances of Orioles Trade for MLB’s ‘Most Electric Closer’

Mason Miller

Getty Mason Miller pitching during a April 6 game against the Detroit Tigers.

Despite a 23-11 start to 2024, good for MLB’s second-best record, the Baltimore Orioles‘ pitching rotation could use some fine tuning, particularly the bullpen.

Do they look to the trade market?

If they do, cross Oakland Athletics closer, Mason Miller off the list.

Jake Mintz shot down the chances of an Orioles trade for the second-year closer, in a May 6 appearance on Glenn Clark Radio.

“The way the Orioles operated,” Mintz said. “They’re not going to overpay, Mike Elias doesn’t do that. I don’t see it as a realistic option.”

Miller has struck out 29 of 54 batters faced in 2024, including 2 in an April 26 extra-innings win over Baltimore.

The Orioles’ starting rotation has picked things up with the returns of Kyle Bradish and John Means, with Grayson Rodriguez and Tyler Wells not far behind them.

But 2023 closer Felix Bautista doesn’t have a timeline for a return, and 35-year-old Craig Kimbrel has struggled as of late.

Mintz: Miller Trade Package Likely Starts with No.2 Prospect

The primary reason for doubt in any potential Baltimore acquisition of Miller, centers around the price tag, according to Mintz.

“He has a lot of service time left,” Mintz said. “They’d have to give up Samuel Basallo, something like that..”

Basallo is the Orioles’ number two prospect, and has appeared in 24 games for their Double-A affiliate Bowie Baysox this year.

He’s slashing .263/.290.453 with 5 home runs and 15 RBIs in 100 plate appearances.

It’s hard to say how Baltimore values the fourth-year catcher and first baseman.

But they’ve shown a willingness to include prospects in deals that hold promise of an immediate impact.

Mike Elias and the Orioles’ front office determined Corbin Burnes worthy of that, sending DL Hall and Joey Ortiz to the Milwaukee Brewers in the summer blockbuster.

It’s hard to see them not viewing Miller in the same light, especially with Kimbrel’s recent struggles. But whether or not they feel pressured to make a deal right now is equally undetermined and unlikely.

Kimbrel Slumping After Injury Scare

Craig Kimbrel’s start to 2024, his first season with Baltimore, couldn’t have been scripted any better.

The 35-year-old closer allowed 2 home runs in his first 11 games, still earning 7 saves and climbing the MLB all-time leaderboard.

But in an April 26 game against the Athletics, the very same where Miller dealt his team into a win, Kimbrel threw his team out of it.

He left the game in the ninth inning with what was deemed upper back tightness by Brandon Hyde. It was a second consecutive blown save.

He was pulled from a May 4 win over the Cincinatti Reds in a save situation after giving up an RBI double in an otherwise shutout game for the Orioles.

His 8-for-12 record in save situations is just a 66-percent success rate.

In a May 5 interview with MASN, Baltimore pitching coach Drew French touched on Kimbrel’s struggles and outlook.

He didn’t let the Orioles’ closer shoulder all of the blame for his recent slump.

“A lot of it is execution-based. When it comes to pitchers and their deliveries, a lot of time it’s a slow leak and it’s something you don’t recognize and you don’t see maybe for a few outings,” French told MASN. “As a staf, it’s really important for us to be in front of those things and try to get the information to the player at the right time. It’s a two-way street and a two-way conversation. Ultimately, it’s about getting him back to being nasty Craig Kimbrel.”

And ultimately, that Baltimore is optimistic.

“I think he’s in a really good spot now,” French continued. I now the result wasn’t great, but he threw the ball better than the line would say.”

Craig Kimbrel’s not the barometer for whether or not the Orioles make another splash addition to the pitching staff. He can’t be, at 35 years old and on a one-year deal.

But his rebound or lack thereof moving forward could nudge Baltimore in that direction.

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