MLB insider floats painful Orioles-Mason Miller trade package

Baltimore's bullpen could certainly use a boost, but the biggest reliever on the trade market sounds like he could cost at least an arm and a leg.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Oakland Athletics
Pittsburgh Pirates v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

We now have almost a quarter of the 2024 season in the books and have learned a lot about the Baltimore Orioles. Corbin Burnes has proven to be a valuable addition, the Orioles have one of the best young offenses in all of baseball, and it is a certainty that Baltimore is going to need more pitching to be able to finish the 2024 season the way they want to.

The Orioles' rotation was the focus for much of the early part of the season and is still a concern with Grayson Rodriguez on the injured list, but those worries have lessened now that Burnes has established himself and both Kyle Bradish and John Means have returned from their injuries. The bullpen, however, is an entirely different matter.

The Orioles very nearly decided to make a huge play for Josh Hader last offseason in the wake of Felix Bautista's Tommy John surgery, but they opted to sign veteran Craig Kimbrel as a cheaper, single-year option instead. Obviously, that signing hasn't worked out nearly as well as Baltimore had hoped.

Looking ahead to the trade deadline, the bullpen arm that is getting the most attention at the moment is Oakland's Mason Miller. The Athletics are basically in a constant state of selling off parts of their roster, and Miller has garnered tons of interest due to his ability to blow his triple-digit fastball right by hitters, as well as the liteal loads of team control he would come with. It does sound like the early scuttlebutt is that Oakland is at least listening to offers on Miller, but Orioles fans may not love what it would take for Baltimore to acquire him.

Orioles Trade Rumors: It would cost the Orioles multiple top prospects to acquire Mason Miller

In Ken Rosenthal's piece for The Athletic on the trade interest in Miller, he made a point to note that while Oakland may be willing to listen, they are asking for the stars and the moon for their prize reliever. Again, he has several years of cheap team control attached to him (arbitration through 2029!), and has quickly become one of the best relievers in baseball, so they should be asking a lot to part with him.

Rosenthal went a step further to identify some teams that could be interested in Miller, including the Orioles. While he used the dubiously "accurate" Baseball Trade Values to come up with a potential trade package from Baltimore that could work, he still came up with a package of top Orioles hitting prospects Coby Mayo and Enrique Bradfield as one that could interest the A's.

That is a heavy, heavy price to pay for any reliever, especially one that throws as hard as Miller does with little track record in the big leagues. Dominant bullpen arms are extremely valuable, but they are also uniquely volatile players who are the most likely demographic to get hurt (Miller suffered a UCL sprain in 2023). Imagine the Orioles giving up a cornerstone offensive piece like Mayo and a potential Gold Glove speedster centerfielder only to have Miller's arm give out. That would not feel great.

While Oakland may be listening, one shouldn't hold their breath for them to actually move him this year. He is cheap enough that the A's can keep him for 2024 to allow him to build even more value, and they can get a similar return (if not more) next offseason or at the 2025 deadline. Still, it sure is fun to think about Miller closing games out for this Orioles team instead of the mess they are having to deal with right now.

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