Most of the Baltimore Orioles starting pitchers had problems in 2017, so the rotation could look significantly different in 2018.
This rumor is based on Miley’s performance in 2017, especially in his late-season performance.
Encina is not the only writer who is predicting that Miley will be gone at the end of the season. Dan Connelly with BaltimoreBaseball.com also expects that Dan Duquette will let Miley go with the $500,000 buyout.
Other pitchers on the move
If the Orioles let Miley go, they will need to fill several pitching spots. Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Jeremy Hellickson, and Miley will all need to be replaced. Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will be the only returning starters. Gabriel Ynoa could also fill a starting spot, as could Miguel Castro.
Miley’s contract for 2017 was $8.9 million. He has an option with the Orioles for $12 million or $14 million if incentives are met. Did Miley prove that he is worth an additional $3 million per year? Not according to the numbers.
Breaking down Miley’s numbers
Miley’s numbers in 2017 were not good. He finished the season with an ERA of 5.61 and a WHIP of 1.729 in 32 starts. He was signed to be the second starter after Tillman of the team when the Orioles acquired him from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Ariel Miranda.
Interestingly, Miley’s 2017 numbers were better than his 2016 numbers in Baltimore. In 11 starts, he had an ERA of 6.17 with a WHIP of 1.574. It is easy to see why the Orioles may not want to give him the $12 million. There might not be many teams that would be willing to pay a pitcher with an ERA over 5.00 that much money.
On most pitching staffs, a 5.61 ERA would belong to the fifth starter. Not with the Orioles. Miley was actually in the middle of the pack. Hellickson, Tillman, and Jimenez all had higher ERAs. Only Bundy and Gausman had better ERA numbers. Even Ynoa had better numbers that Miley.
Miley started the season strong finishing April with an ERA of 2.32. His May ERA was 3.92. But, things went downhill after that. In his six starts in June, he had an ERA of 7.48. In July, it was even worse – 8.68 in 28 innings.
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August saw an uptick to a respectable 2.60 in 27 innings. But, in September, he went right back to awful. In fact, September was worse than awful for Wade Miley. In the final month of the season, he had an ERA of 9.74 as batters against him had an OPS of 1.006. Those numbers are not deserving of a multi-million-dollar Big League contract.
Cleaning up the rotation
Honestly, it is quite nice that the Orioles can so easily clean up their pitching rotation for 2018. But it is too bad that the team cannot start over completely with five new starting pitchers. When the best ERA on the starting rotation is 4.64, there is something seriously wrong with the rotation.
For comparison purposes, let’s look at what happened in Coors Field in 2017. In the home-run friendly park, Jon Gray with the Colorado Rockies finished the season with 20 starts and an ERA of 3.67. The rest of the pitchers finished under 5.00. Camden Yards is often compared to Coors Field as a home-run hitting mecca. But, that still isn’t an excuse for the pathetic pitching that the Orioles had in 2017. The pitchers in the Mile-High City didn’t have the same problems that the Orioles pitchers had.
Seeing those numbers, Duquette has a relatively easy decision with Miley. However, he will need to find a replacement in the rotation. There are a few good men available – check out this list.